Why do adopted children do it? What does it tell us about what is going on inside them?

Some adopters find that lying goes hand in hand with stealing, as their children use one behaviour to cover up for the other.

There are obviously a huge number of reasons why children lie. These can include:

  • Wishful thinking – making something up because they wish it were true or to impress friends
  • Difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality, and thinking that if they really want something they will get it
  • Trying to please parents – telling you what they think you want to hear feels more important than being caught out in the lie
  • Worry that your love and approval are conditional – telling you they did well at school because they think it is more important to gain your approval than tell the truth
  • To avoid punishment when they know they have done something wrong
  • To gain more attention – i.e. feigning illness to be comforted
  • To avoid something undesirable – i.e. feigning illness to avoid school
  • To test adults – making up a story to see how easy they are to fool
  • For revenge – making up a story about a friend who has upset them
  • To show bravado - 'exaggerating' to friends about an exploit.

If you are experiencing problems with lying,  why not contact our Helpline who will be happy to talk over the issue with you.

Alternatively, check out our Forums to share with other adoptive parents: Forum

The National Children's Bureau (NCB) has information which is aimed at helping teachers recognise and understand common behaviours of children who have experienced major loss or trauma early in life.