Dear Grandparenting: I have a pet name for my grandson that I keep to myself. He’s my very own Pinocchio, all of eight years old and already an accomplished liar.
Lying is a big deal for me. Trust is at the heart of any relationship. Without it you have nothing. I’m not talking about little white lies to spare someone’s feelings. This kid can dish up whoppers.
What has me worried is how much better he’s getting at his lying game. He’s not real sorry about it either. I can tell he’s a lot more sorry when he gets caught. What’s a grandmother to do with him? Cammy Linton, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Dear Cammy: Worrisome as it may be, youthful dishonesty is not a great cause among the for concern among professionals who study child development.
Lying is perfectly normal, just par for the course according to child psychologists; most kids learn to lie by preschool. Skilled liars often test smarter than their peers, adept at the art of deception.
Early adolescence is prime time for lying, a developmentally messy period that affects inhibition and impulsivity. It’s also a phase when a grandchild’s natural desire for greater independence can create situations where kids play games the truth. Most young liars generally peak at 11 or 12 and then start cleaning up their act.
Some patterns of dishonesty are more troubling — when lying is frequent and occurs in different situations, when lying places children in risky or dangerous situations, and when lying erodes relations between children and other family members.
It can be only natural to want to corner kids into admitting their dishonesty, but often more productive to be very clear about your expectations and emphasize the consequences of lying, like fewer friends and freedoms. Lying is often a symptom of some underlying problem you can help them begin to cope with.
Building trust is a gradual process, giving grandparents and other family members ample opportunity to encourage kids to be truthful, like noticing theyÕve completed homework and acknowledging it out loud — giving more attention to that which you want more of.
Grand remark of the week
Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild — Welsh proverb
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.