When do toddlers start lying?

My child is lying as if printed - what to do?

Fantasy and reality

We parents then often react insecure and angry, sometimes even hurt and brood: What did I do wrong? Does my child no longer trust me? Bodo Reuser, graduate psychologist, child and adolescent psychotherapist and deputy chairman of the Federal Conference for Educational Advice from Mannheim, reassures: "If a child is dizzy, parents don't have to worry immediately. Playing with the truth is part of child development."

Monkeys that spontaneously jump out of the picture book, soft toys that secretly whisper something to the child - even the very little ones tell such strange stories. At two or three years of age, fantasy and reality mix. At this age children are not yet consciously fooling around. Only when they are around four or five years old can children distinguish between true and untrue, between reality and fantasy. At this age, the little ones notice that someone else doesn't automatically know what they know. If the other was not there, I can tell him what I want.

"Lying requires a certain amount of strategic thinking, which only begins to develop at this age," explains Reuser. "In addition, the conscience must be developed to such an extent that children can distinguish between what is right and wrong in a particular situation."

That's why children lie

Of course, it's fun to try out whether you can fool mom or dad and sell a fictitious story about a crocodile visit to the playground as true. "Such falsehoods are harmless," says Reuser. However, lying is far more complex. Most of the time, it is the child's fear of being scolded or punished. If your new pants accidentally break while playing, your brother is to blame for pushing you - even though you were actually illegally climbing a tree. Even if a child feels overwhelmed, that can be a reason to lie: If the child feels that his performance does not meet the expectations of the parents, he may start to invent successes.