Can You Tell If Your Child Lies?

Can You Tell If Your Child Lies?
13 April 2016

I am fairly confident that I could catch any of my kids in a lie. Are you?

If so, it seems we could both be wrong.

According to new research, most of us overestimate our ability to tell when our children are telling fibs.

The Daily Mail reports:

"The findings may help to explain why some parents seem to be willing to let their children get away with almost anything even in the face of the evidence."

"They say mothers and fathers suffer from a 'truth bias' with their own youngsters but when faced with lies from other people's children, they have less difficulty telling if a statement is true or not."

This makes sense to me in the context of other parents - I can think of times when I've seen other parents believe their child's version of events even when it's glaringly obvious to other onlookers that the version of the truth being offered to them is not, shall we say, the most factual one.

But - and I realise how ironic this is - I find it difficult to accept that I might be blind to when my children stretch the truth. Which of course means that I'll now never quite know what to think when my kids appear to be being less than 100% truthful.

It surely makes sense that we trust our own kids more than we trust other youngsters - biology is a powerful thing, after all - but it's fairly worrying that we're unable to tell when our kids aren't telling the truth.

In my house, we have a pretty simple rule of thumb when it comes to truth-checking a statement by a child. "Look me in the eyes and say that," is all I have to utter when faced with a kid claiming fervently to have brushed his teeth.

"Okaaaaay, I'm sorry, I'll go and do them now," is usually what comes back.

But then I think I'm a stickler for the truth - my kids know that lying will land them in way more trouble than doing something wrong but owning up to it ever could.

So where do you stand on lying? And do y0u think we overestimate our ability to tell when our children aren't telling the truth? Do you have a failsafe way of catching your kid in a lie?

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Stefni E.

    Oh yes I can :smiley:

  • Jade G.


    • Chelsea G.

      Eyeballs give it away!!:joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

  • Sheena V.

    I can with 2 out of 3 of my children but my middle one nope! He laughs & looks shifty when asked if he has done something - think it's a nervous thing as he does the same thing whether he's lying or not! :flushed:

    • James K.

      If their lips move they're probably lying

  • Gail S.

    Told my 3.5 year old his ears go red when he's telling fibs ... I now know every time he covers his ears he's fibbing.

  • Samantha H.

    3 year old this morning...evie have you been eating the easter egg chocolate?answer,no.she threw up while we were in tesco..chocolate! but she had hidden the wrappers so well.

  • Karen B.

    I tell my 9 year old son his eyes twinkle when he tells a lie !! He cannot look me in the eye and tell a lie

  • Lisa D.

    At the moment with my 4 year old yes as she's too honest and she tries to lie then owns up!!

  • Stacie P.

    Smiling is usually a give away here'

  • Kat Z.

    I tell mine the fibbers always has a black tongue. So the one who's very reluctant to show me there tongue is usually the fibbers. The honest one will always poke his tongue straight out without hesitation. Works a treat for me.

  • Laura B.

    My 9 yr old lied to our faces about a serious matter involving fire! I'll say no more! However, she lied and got her little brother into trouble who as it turned out was telling the truth. Between me n my hubby we didn't know who the culprit was. I found out a few months after, by asking her a question about it where she had no choice but to own up. I still can't believe she lied. I'll not beable to believe her again for a while.

  • Taryn-Lee R.

    I told my lg (5) her nose glows just enough for mommy to see when she lies, then I realised I just lied teaching my child not to lie. Now I just explain that I believe her when she tells me things because I trust her but if it is a lie it will hurt my heart and make me sad and the more you lie especially to people you love the less they believe you when you need them to believe you. I told her the 'cry wolf story' she gets it. I can tell when she is lying... Her eyes look sad and unsure.

  • Donna R.

    If my 7 yr old lies i can just tell.....her face and her eyes just give it away. So i use a few sneaky questions and shell slip out the truth without realising.

  • Sarah O.

    She always starts her sentence with- well....... and her expression shes like her dad can't lie for her life lol

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