Sunday, November 1, 2015


One afternoon last week, we hosted a play date. There were 6 kids aged 4 and under in the house. While all of the kids were playing upstairs, Quinn came down and asked me for crayons. I told her that if the kids wanted to colour, they would have to come downstairs and colour on the blue kids' table. She agreed, but then ran to the back room and a moment later ran by me looking guilty. I stopped her on the stairs and asked what was behind her back. "Nothing," she said. I asked her to show me both hands, so she sat down awkwardly and put her hands out in front. I asked if she was sitting on a crayon. "No, " she answered. I then told her that I was going to pick her up. She quickly shoved the offending item under a closed door. I opened the door and brought out the brown marker. "It wasn't me!" She yelled. "Someone else put it there!"

This is happening multiple times per day in our house. Quinn has taken to lying about big things and extremely small things. It seems to be her default. Even when I catch her in a lie, she will continue to lie to me.

She understands what it means to tell the truth. I've tried to explain that not telling the truth is more upsetting than whatever she has actually done. I've tried to explain that trust comes from telling the truth, even when it is tough to do. I've bought books about lying/fibbing/telling the truth. We've read them and talked about them afterwards. After speaking to a few people, I've worked on removing the word lie from my vocabulary when speaking with her.

I've read that lying is normal at this age. It doesn't make it any easier, especially to the extent that she is doing it. She's a smart kid who is always thinking. I do find it slightly concerning that she comes up with such elaborate lies and will continue to lie even after getting caught.

Currently, I do not get angry with her if she has lied to me. I'm disappointed more than anything and let her know that. I'm reluctant to place negative consequences on lying as I've read that it can makes things worse. I did get quite frustrated with her this morning and slightly raised my voice. She locked herself in the bathroom and touched up her face paint (she was one of the Paw Patrol dogs for Halloween and we were going to a party). I didn't realized that that was what she was doing and asked her to unlock the door. She did and I said simply, "You fixed up your dog face paint." She proceeded to tell me that she hadn't. She clearly thought that I would be angry. I then said, "I'm not angry, Quinn. I can see that you fixed up your face paint." She continued to tell me that she hadn't. I don't get it. I got frustrated and made her sit on the stairs. We chatted a few minutes later and had the same conversation that we've had so many times.

I'm jumping ahead, but this makes me fearful for the teenaged years. I do hope that this is a phase that we can get through (until the next one!). I absolutely hate not trusting her. I used to always be able to trust that she would tell me the truth.

Any advice? Words of wisdom? Stories that support my hope that it is a phase?


  1. Sorry you're in that phase. It is a phase although I've noticed every kid differs. Quinn currently does this and has a for a while. I remember Jackson doing it too. I think it really just goes away and we never made it a big deal but if we knew they did something and they're lying about it (i.e. writing on the couch) they still get in trouble for it--more the behaviour and not the lying. There are some children's books too about lying and we'll talk about it outside of the situation like, "I don't like when someone lies to me because then I don't believe them when they're telling the truth." Honestly, it's just a difficult phase and totally normal for their development.

  2. Hey Ashleigh,
    It's Alex. Just wanted to thank you for being so honest about parenting! I don't have any advice because we aren't there yet with Leo or Felix but I definitely will think of this post when that inevitable day arrives. Sometimes I feel like the internet is awash in perfect family photos, impeccable houses, etc. Even when I know that's not the (entire) truth it's so refreshing when people are honest about the ups and downs! I'm sure everything will work out with the lying because Quinn knows she is loved and that she has caring and involved parents. Also congrats on number 3! Super exciting!

  3. Totally normal. Sadly. I do think it's a phase and one that they will learn to hide better and use less. :-)
    I was always told not to force a child into a lie. So if you know that they took a cookie (because lets face it, we're smarter than they are and the chocolate smeared face TOTALLY gives them away) you don't ask them, "DID you take a cookie when I asked you not to" it forces the child into a lie that is unnecessary. You just tell them that you know that they ate a cookie and that you wished that they would listen blah blah blah. It's very hard. It's also hard not to want to yell, "you're lying you little bastard" just kidding of course.