When should you believe your kids?

February 7, 2017
in Kids

As a kid, I remember the times when I was telling the truth and my folks didn't believe me. It felt like such an injustice to my indignant little mind. Now I'm a parent attempting to decipher truth from fiction in my own kids, and the view's a lot murkier from this side. Take, for example, the story about a school librarian-turned-detective who proved a student's innocence and got her un-grounded at home. A 12-year-old girl was writing an English paper in a Google doc at the school library. She forgot to close it and log out of the computer after she was done. Three boys discovered her work and added some very inappropriate content. Later that day when the girl sat down at home with her mother to work on the project, her mom found the vulgarities and punished her, not believing her when she insisted she was innocent. Long story short, the school librarian cross-checked the document's revision history with footage from security cameras in the library, and justice was served. It's just one example, but it illustrates just how tricky the issue of trust is between parents and children. Kids are liars That may sound harsh, but it's true: All kids lie. It's part of a child’s normal development, starting around age 2 when they begin to say "no" and discover that their thinking is separate from their parents' thinking, according to education and literacy company Scholastic. Even at age 4 or 5, those little fibs kids tell are likely not cause for concern, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). They lie because they enjoy making up stories and blurring the line between reality and fantasy. They also may lie to avoid a punishment or humiliation, or to get out of doing something they don't want to do, the AACAP says. Like many other things, kids learn how to lie from their parents, who teach them that little white lies are socially acceptable and necessary to spare people's feelings. By age 6 or 8, children are more sophisticated in their lying skills. "Children can now understand something like, 'John wants his mother to think he feels bad about Grandma not coming to visit.' At this stage, it's not just the content of the lie, but the motive or attitude of the speaker that can be doubted, as well," Scholastic says. And by age 11, kids are darn good liars, though teachers and parents may not be as easily...

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