We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
What to expect at this age
To a 2-year-old, the line between truth and falsehood is a fuzzy one. Until she's 3 or 4, your child won't be capable of grasping the concept of truth – something that's backed up by facts – and so she won't understand lying either. While she can be held responsible for her behavior, she can't really be held responsible for lying about it since she doesn't understand what lying is.
During this year, imagination reigns and wishful thinking plays a starring role. If it happens in her fantasies, it becomes reality. When she flat-out denies pulling the leg off of her brother's toy soldier, despite the fact that you caught her in the act, she's doing so partly out of wishful thinking and partly out of fear. She knows you're likely to be angry with her because of what she did, and now she wishes she hadn't done it. A confession is less important at this stage than just getting her to recognize the mistake she's made in breaking her brother's toy.
What you can do
Avoid asking questions when you already know the answer. Even with a 2-year-old, it's important not to create a situation that actually encourages her to lie. Of course, when we find bright blue scribbles on the kitchen wall, we're all tempted to turn to our 2-year-old and say in exasperation, "Did you do that?" Your child will probably answer "no," even while she's still clutching the crayon in her hand, since she's afraid that saying "yes" will make you even angrier. "Instead, try saying, 'I'm sorry that happened! Now we're going to learn about walls,'" says Jerry L. Wyckoff, a family therapist and co-author of Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking. "Get a bucket and sponge and start scrubbing, guiding your child's hand so she can help you. When you're done, she 'owns' that wall, and she thinks, 'Hey, this is our wall and we want to keep it clean!' There's been no anger over a lie, and she learns responsibility." (Don't be surprised, however, if she scribbles on the wall again the next day just so she can clean it again – unlike parents, 2-year-olds find household chores an amusing change of pace. Rest assured, the novelty will soon wear off.)
Reward the truth. If your child does admit to doing something wrong, respond positively to the fact that she told the truth ("Thank you for telling me! I know that was hard."), and then deal with the situation itself. If you respond only with anger and punishments, why should she ever tell you the truth again?
Set a good example. The best way to teach honesty is to be honest, so follow through on the promises you make. If you tell your 2-year-old, "We'll go to the park after lunch," then pack up the sand toys and head out the door after your meal – or avoid making the promise in the first place, if there's a chance you won't be able to keep it.
Let her dream. On your way to dropping off your older child at ballet class, your 2-year-old announces, "I go to ballet, too, at MY dance school." You know she's just trying to imitate her revered older sibling, so instead of lecturing her on the importance of telling the truth, reply with an impressed, "Really?" and let her elaborate on this bit of whimsy. If your older child balks, remind her that you indulged her fantasies, too, when she was younger.
Have you ever fibbed in front of your child? Take our poll!