One of the hardest parts about parenting is knowing how to tell if your kid is lying, especially if they're already proficient in the art of truth-stretching. Although lying and avoiding the truth is a normal part of childhood and growing up, it's important that parents nip any bad habits in the bud. But that end of the equation is often easier said than done.
In younger children, it's often very apparent that they're not telling the truth. I can tell for certain whenever my almost-two-year-old blames her younger sister (or even the dog) for something I know she did. But in older kids, and even into the tween and teen years, their lying techniques can be a bit more advanced, making it harder to catch them in the act.
Once you know that your chid is lying, coming up with a plan of action is even more important the the lie itself. More often than not how you handle their behavior will determine how they choose to act in the future, according to Parenting, and setting a good example yourself is the best route to do just that. With these techniques in your arsenal, learning how to be a human lie detector will be a little bit easier.
1. They Avoid Eye Contact
One of the classic signs of lying for people of all ages is avoiding eye contact, especially in younger children. More often than not, they'll feel ashamed about lying and avoid your gaze, according to PopSugar.
2. Or They Look You Straight In The Eyes
One piece by Psychology Today noted that while avoiding eye contact denotes a feeling of shame and embarrassment, more "sophisticated" liars know that they need their story to be believable so they'll look you right in the eyes and tell you what they want you to believe. Although this "technique" is probably too advanced for most toddlers, in older children it can be a move they've perfected.
3. Their Story Isn't Consistent Or Probable
Inconsistencies or impracticalities in what they say happened is another sure sign that something is off. Parenitng noted that in small children,"tall tales" are a normal sign of their imagination. In older kids, however, bending the truth or telling details you know aren't true are a sign that they've been caught in a lie.
4. They're Overly Passionate About Their Defense
On the other hand, kids may get overly zealous about their story — overcompensating for the faulty details in it,
5. They Fidget Or Act Nervous
Pop Sugar pointed out nervousness or fidgety movement as another sign that your kid isn't telling the truth. If your child has a fear of disappointing you, this may be even more pronounced.
6. They Touch Their Face Or Do Other Out Of Character Movements
Anxious children may do more than fidget, according to Parents. They may bite or lick their lips, touch their face or do other things that seem out of character.
7. They Hide From You
Hiding is another classic maneuver for kids who don't want to get caught. My almost-two-year-old (while I wouldn't necessarily call it lying at that age) frequently gets caught with her younger sister's pacifier. Since she knows she isn't allowed to have it, she'll hide in a closet or under a blanket in order to avoid us from taking it.
In older children, this can simply mean avoiding you, or a certain conversation, purposefully, so they don't get caught.