Parents: Do you know when your kids are lying?

Or have they ever told you a lie that would have been successful if you hadn’t found them out by other means?

There’s a thread in MPSIMS about lies people were told by their parents, wherein someone said that they figured they’d lied to their parents a lot more than their parents had lied to them. There have also been threads along the lines of “The biggest lie that I ever told my parents—and they believed me!”. But someone usually pipes up that the parents might known they were being lied to, but let it ride because they figured the matter was below intervention level.

So, those of you with offspring:

  1. Have your kids ever lied to you so glibly and plausibly that you believed them right up until either someone else dropped a dime on them, or you found contradictory evidence?

  2. Have you ever known, or been fairly sure, that your kid was lying to you, but didn’t pursue it? If so, why didn’t you?

(I don’t have kids, BTW. And my success rate for lying to my parents was about 50/50, depending on how well I could tell the story, and whether or not there was contrary evidence.)

1)* Have your kids ever lied to you so glibly and plausibly that you believed them right up until either someone else dropped a dime on them, or you found contradictory evidence?*

Oh yeah. More than once.
2)* Have you ever known, or been fairly sure, that your kid was lying to you, but didn’t pursue it?..*

Oh yeah. More than once.

  • …if so, why didn’t you?*

You know, it’s funny that you ask, because we’ve given this very subject a lot of thought over the years. It seems to come up a fair bit when we’re shooting the shit with other parents or what have you.

Basically I think that if they’re lying to me, they have their reasons. People usually lie out of fear in one form or another. It bothers me more that my kids didn’t trust me enough to tell me the truth than the fact that they’ve deceived me. And very truthfully, I am unfortunately far from perfect and have over-reacted, under-reacted or somehow failed to react adequately in some way, which of course teaches them that they can’t always trust me with the truth. Any honest (and/or aware) parent will tell you the same thing. Also, I remember being a kid well enough to understand their fears, not having been raised by perfect parents myself. Anyways, you know the old saw, that you always teach people how to treat you, by your own behaviour.

People lie, period. Obviously, none of us are always completely honest all the time. Kids are no different. I could be wrong of course, but I think my kids are honest with me more than not, that they trust me more than not. Essentially, it’s a two-way street whether I, as a parent, like it or not. They, at the ages of 13 and 16, still seem to mostly respect my authority and in turn I try not to crush, oppress or overwhelm them with it. For obvious reasons, that would be a big mistake in any case. Yet it’s not always easy to recognize it if you’re being too-heavy handed, at least not right in the heat of the moment. IOW, their general truthfulness or even just willingness to share themselves with me, seems to be in more-or-less proportion to my general even-handedness as a parent.

Sometimes I respect their decision to lie to me and just try harder to create a better atmosphere of trust within our relationships. I ask the same of them and because it’s a reasonable request, they usually try to meet me halfway. They can tell me the truth if and when they’re ready to, on their own terms.

OTOH, if it seems appropriate, sometimes I do confront them immediately about the lie. If it means an argument, so be it. At times, it seems more important to get things out into the open and clear the air. It just depends on the circumstances.

Both of my children have lied to me with great skill and dexterity, and many times I have been completely taken in. Things are much better now, but when my daughter was 15 it was really bad. At one point she told me that she would always lie to me, just on principle, and from then on it has been extremely hard to believe her about anything. ANYTHING. Little stuff, big stuff, inconsequential stuff, the time of day…I always verify now. But for a long time I believed the lies because she was very good at them, and sometimes I didn’t WANT to know the truth.

It’s amazing the change that has come over her in the past two years. She still lies occasionally to keep me from being hurt or disappointed, but it is easier for me to tell, now.

Yes, but they’re still too young to have had enough practice. I imagine I’ll be easily taken in by the first one they put some effort into.
I also feel like Triss, that when they lie, it may be a sign that I need to make adjustments myself.

My sixteen year old doesn’t lie to me much as far as I can tell, I could be wrong. I’ve caught him being sneaky but he hasn’t lied to me about that the times he’s been caught. Sometimes I wish he would be doing something adventurous enough to lie to me about it, the kid never does anything. My eleven year old lies a lot.

If I know they’re lying about something I usually won’t get mad, I’ll point out how the lie made things harder on them. If I know they’re lying I will never let it go, I want them to think they can’t put one over on me. Sometimes I just act sceptical without actually saying that I know they’re lying.

My parents would never confront me about lies I told so I just lied more and got into more and more trouble because of it. I very rarely lie now because it doesn’t help anything and people usually know a lie when they hear it. I’ll say nothing if I can’t say the absolute truth. I’m surprised at the number of adults who lie when they know that everyone knows that they’re lying. Nothing makes me respect a person less.