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My 7 year old has a problem with lying.
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My 7 year old has a problem with lying.

We have a problem with our nearly 7 year old son.  He is a wonderful person other than the fact that he is so sneaky.  He has a problem with lying that his kindergarten teacher noticed, too.
We have since taken him out of school because we thought maybe the pressure was too much. I homeschool him now and all was going well. In the last few months the lying has started again.  He is really smart (3rd grade reading level)and he gets a wonderful amount of praise in everything he does.  I just don't understand why he lies when he knows that he gets in much more trouble for it than the if he told the truth. We are at a loss. We also have a problem with trying to get his little brother in trouble. I try and make no difference between them (other than age apprpriate ones) but he seems to resent him so much. It's never overt, just when they are alone.  I'm really worried about him.  We took him to see a psychologist, and she said he had ADD (what a generic and unhelpful diagnosis).  It is starting to effect the way I see him. I just can't trust him to tell me the truth about the smallest thing.  It's like he has to be perfect and if he messes up he has to cover it up.  I hope you can help.
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Dear Nicole,

When young children lie, the 'motive' is usually to escape (they think) trouble of some sort. This type of lying is fairly common and, if parents respond by communicating their disapproval, modeling values of truth and honesty, and applying consequences if necessary, such lying is not particularly indicative of any serious personality or character flaws.

However, some children lie almost gratuitously, if you will. They do not lie to escape trouble or disapproval (at least overtly), and the motive for such lying can be subtle and not always apparent.

If indeed your son displays Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, this is really not relevant to the pattern of lying. Lying is not a symptom of ADHD.

It would probably be worth your while to seek another opinion about your son's functioning by securing another child mental health evaluation. Be sure to explain your worry, and arrive at the appointment with some detailed examples to offer the clinician.

It is possible, but by no means obvious, that your son has some perfectionistic tendencies that cause him to be unaccepting of any flaws in his behavior or performance, and therefore 'compel' him to lie to protect his self-imposed standards.

As a final note, you might question your decision to withdraw him from school. These early years in school are critical for young children, not only because of their exposure to fundamental academic skills, but also for social and emotional development. I worry that, in your sincere attempt to help and support him, you may be depriving him of an enriching and stimulating environment for all-around learning.
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