Storytelling vs lying in kids

I have a neice who is less then truthful at times.

In elaborate detail she described her first day of school before school started. Or talk about her trip to disneyland this morning, or the zoo, friends she doesn't have, etc. She gets into quite a lot of detail with these untruths, to the point it's almost believable. But being only 5 it's not too long before some impossible comes out.

My mom and bro call these lies and are trying to get her to stop. But I don't see it that way. I see a little girl with a very active imagination. If she was older, then yes, but at her age, no I wouldn't call them lies. With as elaborate as her stories are, I see a potential writer in the making. IMO imagination and creativity is such a precious gift too often lost with age.

What do you all think?
At 5, I wouldn't worry about untrue stories too much, even if they are imaginative/exaggerated tales of her own life...as long as there's no deception involved. I would treat it lightly, saying things like: "Oh, that's silly, tell me what really happened." Most kids stop doing that as they get a bit older.
That's pretty much how I feel too. I thought it was pretty common for kids that age. But they treat it as though she's lying about breaking the lamp or something. To them it's a deliberate act of deception. And I just don't understand that viewpoint.
I would tend to view it the same way you do--the storytelling is a creative outlet for a little girl with a very good imagination. Even if it's stories about her life (which is pretty common--children are very "self-centered" plus they don't have a lot of life "experience") I wouldn't worry unless she's telling stories to cover something up, avoid punishment, etc. To me the difference is intent...is she just making up stories from her imagination or is there an ulterior motive behind it?

I would also do what RedCatWaves suggested...comment and praise her on her creativity but make sure that she realizes that it's just a story to reinforce the difference between make believe and reality.
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Originally Posted by babywavy

Kids teach us so much...we all get wiser after observing them for a couple of decades.

I once met an older woman on an airplane. My 5 year old had been talking her ear off, and she was so patient with him. He told her endless streams of information...giving out our whole family history without hardly breathing, and she said to him "you must be 5". I thought that was so profound. You really can tell how old most younger kids are by how they speak and what they say. I started noticing how my kids and other kids spoke at various ages. The story-telling/endless-yapping really peaks at 5, and trails off after that...when they learn to lie for real...around age 6 or 7. You can tell the difference.
Oh crap, I made up all kinds of stuff when I was a kid. I had an almost overactive imagination. I think kids do it because it's like "pretend" and when they're the center of attention telling a story they ham it up. It's definitely cute it in kids. The only time it's not cute is when adults do it.
I was wondering the same thing, actually. I met a little girl in the park last week, and she told me all sorts of stories about how the helicopter that just flew overhead was taking her best friend to Disneyland and how she's going to a sleepover with other kids who were at the playground (who didn't even acknowledge she was there, I don't think they knew her) and so on... It kind of creeped me out because her "lies" were so obviously false.

Thanks for sharing your perspectives. It makes me totally rethink my reaction.


Sounds like she has a great imagination. I'd encourage her (and her parents) to stretch that imagination through writing stories or art. It might be easier for her to express herself through art at that age but please try to get her parents to see that this is not a bad thing at all. She just needs to be taught that stories are one thing and lies are another.

Our imaginations are so squelched by so many people and organizations as we grow up. It's so important to encourage children to keep theirs active and not dampen that creative spirit.
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RCW, that's a great point about the deception aspect of things- my 7 year old is now a full fledged liar , whereas 2 years ago, he was more of a storyteller. He lies the same way I always did though, so I can usually catch him pretty quickly. Poor kid.
RCW, that's a great point about the deception aspect of things- my 7 year old is now a full fledged liar , whereas 2 years ago, he was more of a storyteller. He lies the same way I always did though, so I can usually catch him pretty quickly. Poor kid.
Originally Posted by cosmicfly

Yeah...great stage. LOL...

Luckily, they come out of that too...hopefully. Mine all did...except for one, who still makes a regular habit out of lying. Ugh...
I think it's great when kids are that age and have such active imaginations. I agree that the intent behind the storytelling is the thing. If they're just making up a story to entertain someone, I think that's fine (after all, adults read kids made-up stories all the time). If they're fibbing to get out of trouble, that's a whole different thing. My DD is two and already makes up little stories about seeing imaginary puppies or going to birthday parties and I think it's pretty cute.
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My daughter turned 6 last spring and has been non-stop trying to pull a fast one on us last last few weeks. Sometimes I am at a loss on what to say when I know she isn't telling the truth. Sometimes I am not positive that isn't telling the truth, that's what really gets me!

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