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Dutchess_III's avatar

Should we always believe what children tell us?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42438points) February 24th, 2017

I think it’s important to take children seriously. On the other hand, some of them tell the most outrageous lies to to their parents.

When I had my daycare, the new girl didn’t want to eat lunch. I didn’t care. I allowed her to excuse her self, take the plate to the sink and go watch TV or whatever.
The next morning the Mom came in, upset, asking why I had refused to feed her child! I told her that I hadn’t, but she was still suspicious.
The next day, same story. This time I stuck her food in a baggie, and handed it to her Mom when she picked her up. It never came up again. And since the child wasn’t getting any kid of reaction from me she did start eating.

Another time. Same kid. Mom called after she picked her up one day and told me that one of the other kids, a boy, had exposed himself to her at nap time. I was concerned, but also puzzled. I’d had that particular boy for a couple of years, and had never encountered any behavior like that from him. Plus there were 4 other kids in that room. They would have told me.
I thought for a second then had a flash of insight. I said, “What color did she say his penis was?”
With confidence Mom said, “She said it was pink.”
I didn’t say anything more, but I wanted to say, “Lady, you have a kid. Human penises are not pink. Not even baby penises are pink.”
She pulled her out not long after that and I was relieved. That child and her stories could have gotten me in a lot of trouble.

Another time substitute teaching in a 5th grade classroom. A kid was getting ready to throw a wadded up piece of paper into the trash can, in the middle of a lesson.
I paused, then said, “Mikey. I’ll make you a deal. Take the shot. If you make it we will clap. If you miss it, you stay in at recess and help me straighten the room! It’s your choice.”
He hesitated….then took the shot. And missed.
I got a call from his Grandfather soon after school. The kid had told him that I had made him mop the classroom floor on his hands and knees!
I said, “Um. No. Those are old, old oak floors, and I don’t think the janitors would have appreciated them getting wet!” I told him what had actually transpired.
The grandfather said, “Yeah. I thought that sounded strange. Well thank you!”
I can’t help but wonder if his parents would have reacted so intelligently.

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7 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

I would argue adults lie more and their lies are way more serious. OMFG lunch vs WMD in Iraq.

Clearly we shouldn’t believe anything anyone tells us.

Zaku's avatar

I think the important thing is to treat them with respect and give what they say consideration, and not belittle, disregard, trivialize, disbelieve, etc., and also not automatically completely believe them. Lying is something most kids experiment with for at least a while, which is natural and not unhealthy. I think it’s important that in one way or another they learn about lying, and at least as importantly about how others relate to what they say, how they say it, etc. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is not the most obvious surface-level circumstantial stuff, but what the children learn about people relating to each other.

There can be some problems when adults fall for a kid’s lie, but I think it’s a different sort of problem, and generally a more important one to watch out for, when adults disregard kids and don’t value or respect them enough, and also sometimes when they demonstrate folly by believing a lie and taking on other adults in unwise ways, though that can be a valuable lesson too.

For example, the first girl may have learned some important insights about her mom’s issues by getting her to react that way. Children tend to have an instinct to explore and expose their parents’ weaknesses.

Sneki95's avatar

Should we believe kids? No, not at all.
Sure, kids get in trouble and ask for help, and help should be given to them, but if the kid tells you something, check out if it’s true or did the kid make it up or misunderstand something. It happens easily that a child may hear something and understand/remember it incorrectly and then tell it around, has it’s own perspective on an event, or straight out lie for whatever reason. So, ask for another source. Just like that granpa did.
Some parents’ main mistake is that they always keep their kids’ side and defend them without even questioning if their child is a victim or not.

All of this goes for adults as well.

Pandora's avatar

Nope. I remember when my daughter was little and she was playing with scissors and cut up the couch trying to get the buttons off. When I asked her if she did it, she said no while holding the scissors. She was only about 3 or 4 at the time.
Another time. A friends kid was asked if he ate all the chocolate. He blamed his little brother. His little brother who wasn’t home. He told this lie while having chocolate all over his teeth.
But I will note that sometimes, there are those children who cannot tell a lie.
My son would confess stuff after getting away with whatever he did, because the guilt was killing him. It really depends on the kid. My daughter was more like Trump. Even if you caught her in the act. She didn’t do it or someone else told her to do it.
Whats funny now, is my sons job requires him to hold secrets and my daughters job requires her to make sure people don’t get away with stuff. He’s in intelligence and she’s in It, security. I just realized the irony. LMBO

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ Funny! I never really had a problem with my kids lying to me. From the time they were babies I taught the to believe I was a witch with telepathic powers!

When my oldest was 2 things were too quiet, so I went looking for her. I peeked in my bedroom, and she was on the floor beside the bed, waist deep in Vaseline! She didn’t see me. I quietly went to the other end of the house and yelled, “JENNIFER!!! GET OUT OF THE VASELINE!!!”
She came flying out of the room, eyes wide saying, “How did you know??”
I said, “I know everything, honey. And don’t forget it!”

MrGrimm888's avatar

Kids don’t lie. They just give “fake news.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Alternative facts.

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