If you think your kid is not a liar and has never lied, then let me be the first to inform you that you have a very, very crafty liar on your hands. Or you may be really dumb. Hey! Don’t be upset, lots and lots of people are dumb these days, bazillions of ’em actually, and have been all throughout history.
All kids, to one degree or another, are liars. At one time or
another always. These are tips about detecting lies, not at all about why kids lie. Really it could be to hide something bad or because they felt like their lips needed a good workout.
Let me outline some of the most common indications that your kid is lying through their teeth. Even if it’s just their first tooth they’re lying through.
Kids’ eyeballs are gigantic. That little baby head and… those huge eyes! Anyways, the point is a kid’s almost-fully-grown eyes are proportionately bigger in their not-so-fully-grown heads, so they can be the brightest beacons to the truth, or the opposite of it. Windows to the soul. Windows to lies.
Widened eyes, squinty ones, shifty, unblinking or fluttering eyes; whatever your kid’s eye habits are, you can quickly learn what the lie signs are AND NAIL THEM TO THE WALL OF TRUTH! Or talk it out and let it go. Chill out okay, they’re just kids.
Parents are students of their kid’s body. They have to be, because if the aren’t fast learners, they’ll get an F in the form of bodily fluid stains on furniture and bedding and everywhere. Early on, a kid’s body language can be as strange and freaky as their first pronunciations of spoken language. This can make lie detection a little difficult, but by no means impossible.
They’re saying they’re telling the truth, but they’re also rapidly licking their lips beyond the help of over-the-counter chapstick. Ah ha!
When lying, some kids dance around like they’re hiding a rabid squirrel in their clothes. Maybe they twirl an innocent lock of hair round and round an angelic finger, or they may begin making a banquet of their fingers as they talk with their mouths full of fingernails and lies. They’re all different, but you’ll learn their mannerisms. Or continue the time-honored tradition of being oblivious.
Tone & Attitude
Be on the lookout for sudden, inexplicable changes in mood; sulking, anxiousness, snideness or even weird flight-attendant cheerfulness.
If your kid seems to be holding up their hands as if some unseen thing is about to hit them while they’re telling you something, you might want to cross examine the witness. Or maybe you’re getting a bunch of rude questions back, as if you’re now trapped in an endless automated phone system: Press 1 to say why you’re asking. Press 2 to repeat the question again. Press 3 to explain how you could even think such a thing. Press 4 to end this conversation…
Flattery & Fawning
When your child starts taking out the trash, cleaning up dirty dishes by way of expert smearing, and making you a gift such as a “sock flattener” constructed out of Legos, you need to determine if they’re carrying out some self-sentenced punishment for something they’re not being honest about. Of course they could simply be being helpful. And they could also be unicorns in miniature human form. Let’s go with statistical likelihoods here though, okay?
That fake smile. Those shining compliments. They can be like the wrapped present you already know from the shape of it, except this box is filled with bullsh*t. It’s fair to say, when a kid follows a statement with five big compliments in a row, possibly repeating some, that you should start digging for a fib.
Inconsistencies & Contradictions
Their story doesn’t add up because in the math they’re using, the plus marks are lies. Sometimes it’s really obvious, like, “I was playing outside in the kitchen…” or as subtle as “My teacher never talked to me about it…[blah blah blah]…and she said I didn’t need to give it you.”
Alibis can start to sound as warped and weird as a burrito-induced nightmare and excuses can become like riddles. But don’t sweat it, knowing is half the battle. Unfortunately, getting to the truth is the other much harder half.
Sometimes it’s really fast. “NowayIhaven’tevenusedthemicrowave.” Or the other way around. “The…last…time…I…used…the…microwave…it…was…like…that…already.” Or it’s a total malfunctioning, redundant mess. “My-I’m not n-no I um d-didn’t.”
It may all be whispered, or your kid may start talking to you as if you were suddenly 100 years old with a horn in your ear. “I’M GOING TO GO OUTSIDE NOW. I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING. DO WE HAVE A SHOVEL BECAUSE I JUST WANT TO PLAY IN THE DIRT AND NOT BURY ANYTHING OR ANYTHING MICROWAVE SHAPED.”
Basically look out for changes in the way your kid talks. Or uses sign language, if they’re deaf. When it starts to look like heavily-caffeinated Kung Fu, I imagine that’s a good clue to fibbing.
Every once in a while a kid will actually grow bored of the web-of-deceit weaving and throw up their hands and confess, “Ya got me! I’m full of it. Sorry. What’s my punishment? Let’s just get this over with please.”
So there you go! I had no intention of this having been helpful, so if it was, I sincerely apologize. Or do I? Maybe I’m LYING!!! … I’ll stop now.
Whether the tales your kid tells are white lies or the darker meat on the steaming roast of dishonesty, remember, honesty can’t be pounded into any personality. They’ll probably learn by example, it’s what they do best. They’re kids.*
Yes, they can actually see fairies so just nod and bob your head when they say so, you suspicious cynical monster!
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Instructional Diagrams Are LIES!
Let’s just call these “imaginative reinterpretations.” The word “lies” has so unimpressively few letters in it.