At a certain point in your children's lives, you may catch them telling tales or find that they have trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy. Telling tall tales is different from lying; it's an expression of your children's imagination and isn't meant to harm anyone. However, it may become harmful when your kids grow up and continue the habit.

Children occasionally experiment with lying. They may exaggerate, tell tales, or even distort the truth. They may do this for a number of reasons. They could be afraid of disappointing you, trying to avoid punishment, trying to gain your attention, crying for help with a bigger issue, looking for a way out of a stressful situation, or imitating the behavior of the adults around them.

If your children lie persistently, keep in mind that it took them a long time to become a master of distorting the truth. You must patiently understand that change will also take time.

Here are six tips to help your kids curb this disturbing habit.

For more advice on kids and discipline, check out these FN articles:

(First published in Good Housekeeping Magazine, Good Family section as "Teacher Says" in October 2008; adapted for use in Female Network)
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