The Truth About Lies*

Being honest is a characteristic quality that everyone hopes will be displayed by those in their lives, and we especially hope this will be a quality our children will embrace. Even those little white lies are lies, especially in situations where it can harm someone or something. Lies can only lead to bigger trouble, in many cases, and even though we want to think our children would never lie to us, they will, at least once in a while.

If you know your grandchild or child well enough you’ll know when they are lying to you. Call it a (GRAND)parent’s intuition or just knowing the way children act in a variety of situations. Parents are gifted with a sixth sense- let’s use the tale of Pinocchio as an example for all ages. 

We are never too old to learn that truth prevails; wouldn’t you agree?

What is a lie? Can your child answer that question? If not, or if they have lied to you but really don’t know what it is, talk to your child about what the meaning of a lie is. Understanding the difference between miscommunication and a lie can be difficult at this age.  As simple as it may seem, defer to the classic, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and how this situation should have been handled. Read other books to your youngsters that teach lessons about lying.

Main points to address:

  • What is a lie? Talk about this question by giving examples.
  • Read books or tell stories that demonstrate being honest.


Grades K-3rd
When kids get a little older you can get into the details of the difference between a lie, an accident, or miscommunication. Don’t wait for the child to tell a lie or get into trouble; talk to them about lying first. It’s important to talk over these things before the situation surfaces. You can do this at any time, while you’re driving in the car, grocery shopping, or baking together. Anytime that you and your grandchild/child are together one-on-one is a great time to talk about important issues.

Main points to address:

  • Use “what if” examples to talk about telling the truth.
  • Emphasize the danger in telling a lie.


Grades 4th-6th
Continue the talk (as stated in the K-3rd grade section of this article) to demonstrate the importance of situations where it is extremely imperative to tell the truth, as if their friend is doing something that can be harmful to themselves or other people. Explain to the child how the truth always comes to the surface, one way or another, and a lie only makes the situation worse than it originally would have been.

Just like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, many movies and books that are centered on lying can begin a great conversation on the topic. Once the movie is over, start a conversation and ask questions to your child about how lying affected the main or minor characters. How did the end result make them feel? Would they have done the same thing? If not, how would they have acted in that situation?

Main points to address:

  • Give examples of situations where it is extremely important to tell the truth.
  • Express how telling a lie only gets them into more trouble.
  • Watch movies or read books that are centered on lying.


These are some simple, yet effective, suggestions when dealing with children. The bottom line is communication is truly the key at any age. 


*Portions of article  sourced from: