How to Discipline a Five-Year-Old Who Is Lying

By Tom Ryan
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Everyone is guilty of lying at one point or another, including children. Younger children, like five-year-olds, may lie to get out of trouble or in order to get something they want -- they may not, however, know that lying is wrong. Teaching your child at this age that lying is wrong is crucial to preventing him or her from lying in the future. If your young child learns that lying nets results, she will continue to do so. Instead of letting that happen, discourage lying with discipline and positivity.

Step 1

Identify the type of lie. For example, a young child may exaggerate the truth or lie to get something he wants. The way you discipline your child depends on the circumstances of the lie.

Step 2

Encourage your child not to exaggerate facts. For example, if he says, "Emily beat me up and took my toys," correct him by saying, "I saw Emily take your truck without asking, but she didn't hit you. You should never tell a lie like that."

Step 3

Address a manipulative lie directly, like one that is being used to avoid punishment. Young children don't always understand that lying is wrong, so before punishing a lie, explain why it is bad. For example, if your child claims to have cleaned his room so that he can go play, explain to him that you know he didn't and that he should not tell lies to get what he wants.

Step 4

Create consequences. If your child continues to lie, show that you will not tolerate it by creating punishment and enforcing it. This may be as simple as putting your child in a time-out; the point is that your child can predict what negative consequences she will face if she lies to you.

Step 5

Encourage your child to tell the truth on her own. For example, if she seems hesitant to tell the truth after a lie, tell her that you are going to take a break from the subject and ask about it again later. Young children may be afraid to admit to a lie for fear of punishment.