My lying 2-year-old

Lately, my daughter (2years, 4 months) has been starting to “lie”. It started with telling tales about what my husband or I had said, like…
She would come to me and say “Can I have a candy?” I would say “Ask Daddy.” (Of course knowing he would say no and be the bad guy :wink: ) She would go ask her dad. He said no. Then she’d come back to me and say “Dad said yes.” Then, at bath time, she told me daddy said she didn’t need to have her hair washed today (which he didn’t). Finally, a couple nights ago, she told us the babysitter was really angry and hit the table loudly and then hit her on the face. We asked the sitter if our daughter had been naughty that night and she said no. We asked her about the hitting and, of course, she said no. Our daughter loves that sitter and I don’t think the sitter would do that. But still I makes me worried. Need to buy a nanny-cam!
I checked my “what to expect in the toddler years” book and it says kids start lying at about 3 or 3 1/2, but they lie to avoid punishment, not like just making up stuff. Our daughter’s teachers all say she is really advanced, especially in language development, for her age. But it seems scary to me!!
Any advice??? Anybody had experiences like this???

If she asks you for candy, don’t say “ask Daddy”, knowing that he will say no. Why don’t you say no yourself? It kinda fills the loophole in your SOP, doesn’t it?

Washing hair: Don’t give her a choice, decide for her and in doing so take away the window of opportunity to tell a lie.

My advice is quite simple: Learn to say no. Period. Why? Because I say so, that’s why. :slight_smile:

Oh, and do tell her that lying is dishonest, blah, blah… :smiley:

Don’t stress too much, don’t think she’s bad for doing what she’s doing, and whatever you do, don’t even think about yelling at her or hitting her for her “bad” behavior.

Our girl just turned 2 and is starting to be very difficult. Yesterday I came home and she had dumped all the fish food in the tank, pulled out a pile of CDs, turned on the TV, dumped books on the floor, and was pounding on my electronic keyboard, most of those items having been supposedly mine, not hers in the recent past.

But I believe that kind of stuff, and lying, is just part of the normal development process. My understanding of the “terrible twos” is that, before that age kids are totally dependent on mommy and daddy for everything. You stick a bottle in her mouth, take her clothes off and on, set her here or there and do with her as you will and she’s just an object being acted upon. About age two kids start realizing that they can control the world. They can pick up this or that without your help. They can eat or not eat at their own will. They can say yes or no. They can go to sleep or not. They now control the world, not you.

It may be a pain in the ass dealing with it (and my wife has a lot more trouble than me; she has trouble controlling herself in response to some of the antics), but it’s a normal, healthy (for them, not you) stage of development.

Don’t try to fight her. Don’t butt heads with her. That’s obviously not a healthy response and, besides, it’s futile: she’s probably stronger than you are (ours is). Instead, be kind, gentle, firm, consistent and, most importantly clever. You can’t outfight your child (and don’t want to try), but at least you may be able to outthink her. Lock things up, place them high, unplug them, hide them carefully, distract her when necessary, offer immediate rewards for good behavior, etc. At least that’s my plan.

As for lying, that seems to be just part of the same control thing. She’s learning how to speak and speaking isn’t just making words, it’s also choosing what words to utter, what to say, putting sentences together for various purposes to get results. She’s learning that when daddy’s permission is required she can tell you she obtained it in the hopes of getting the desired result. That’s not evil and despicable – it’s a child learning how to use language. Don’t punish her harshly for that, but instead calmly, consistently let her know that lying is wrong. Bear in mind, too, that she may have learned to lie from you. It’s hard to avoid telling small lies to ones child from time to time for minor reasons, but kids catch everything. They know when you’re lying and they follow your example. So try hard not to lie to her, or at least make damn sure she won’t catch you.

Good luck. As I said, my wife and I are also embarking on this thrilling adventure. :neutral:

Nice post MT… I agree with everything you posted. When my boy was smaller, and even now, I try to make it easy for him to be good. I do the same with my dogs, BTW.

The terrible twos are practice for the teenage years.

In one particularly good book on my parenting shelf, the authors discuss exactly this sort of thing. They mention studies on child development that show how toddlers can rarely distinguish between reality and fantasy (in fact, it

Hmm, I can’t recall dealing with this. Our son didn’t tell tall tales. But then again, I’m not one to believe even small white lies when they occur.

Stay on the ball.

Parenting doesn’t end, or go offline…ever.