Lying to your kids, we've all done it – here are five things to consider before telling the next one

Doing so could make it more likely for your kids to hide the truth when they’re older

Serious african american father and son sitting on couch in living room talking and holding hands
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Be honest – how many times have you lied to your children about something? 

From the seemingly harmless “of course he is!” response to ‘is Santa Claus real?’ to more serious conversations about difficult topics such as how to talk to your kids about war, most parents might lie to their children to keep them happy, protect them or avoid disappointing them, for example.

You’re certainly not alone if you fall into this camp. Research from Mamia, Aldi’s baby and toddler range, revealed 85 percent of parents have lied to their children, with some doing this on an average of 10 times a week. And although telling little white lies could be seen as a parental right, another recent article published on ResearchGate explored how parental dishonesty affects children’s ability to socialise and their future wellbeing.

If you're in the habit of stretching the truth when it comes to your kids, worry not. Here are five things to consider before telling another lie.

5 things to bear in mind before lying to your kids again

  1. Try modelling honesty: You probably already know that children will learn by imitating their parents, so one of the best things you can do is to be honest yourself.
  2. Come clean: If you get caught out with a lie you've told your child, honesty is the best policy. Help them to understand your reasons behind concealing the truth, and apologising goes a long way – especially for a child in their early teens.
  3. Avoid becoming a repetitive liar: The occasional white lie probably won't do your child any harm, but lying on a regular basis could cause distrust between you and your child further down the line.
  4. Parenting style is important: There are many ways in which you choose to raise your children, such as gentle parenting and tiger parenting, but research from Brigham Young University has found that authoritarian parenting – considered the strictest kind – "generally yield children who employ deception for more prosocial reasons."
  5. Think about how you give feedback: Giving praise to your child is a real confidence-booster, but it can be tricky to navigate when you don't actually mean it. For example, if your child isn't particularly good at playing football, instead of saying how well they played in a match, try being supportive and objective: "Learning something new takes time" or "I've really noticed how much you've improved."

If you're struggling with the back-to-school battle, try this the next time your kid says, 'I'm NOT going to school today!' and a psychologist reveals 3 tips on how to navigate parenting with a new partner.

Daniella Gray
Family News & Wellbeing Writer

From building healthy family relationships to self-care tips for mums and parenting trends - Daniella also covers postnatal workouts and exercises for kids. After gaining a Print Journalism BA Hons degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Nottingham Trent University, Daniella started writing for Health & Wellbeing and co-hosted the Walk to Wellbeing podcast. She has also written for Stylist, Natural Health, The Sun UK and Fit & Well. In her free time, Daniella loves to travel, try out new fitness classes and cook for family and friends.