How Do I Know My Kid Is Lying?

Kids always seem to be surprised when they are caught in the middle of a lie — Mom really does have eyes in the back of her head! She really does talk to that little bird!

Is it really these eyes that Mom has or does that little bird really give the secrets away? Or is she just a master body language and thought reader?

I’m going with the latter. Every thought has three simultaneous reactions. They are:

  1. Emotional
  2. Intuitive
  3. Physical

Emotional reactions occur chemically in the body. Think a sad thought and your serotonin level changes and then you feel sad. These are extremely difficult to mask, as they are automatic bodily functions. When your child lies, he/she goes through a chemical cascade of reactions that help to create a physical reaction.

An intuitive reaction is one that the brain’s vibrations send out for anyone to pick up on. When you pick up on an intuitive vibe, you often call it a hunch, a gut feeling, or a sense of knowing. You child is busted when you catch on to one of these! And you may not even be in the same room when the intuitive vibe comes in.

A physical reaction is one that is readable to an observer. Body language is often a dead give-a-way for a liar. Although many adults can mask these reactions, kids tend to be very transparent.

Here is a list of physical reactions of a liar after being asked a direct question:

  1. Look up to the right and or touch the right side of their head or neck. He or she is creating the answer. High probability of NOT telling the truth.
  2. Look up to the left and or touch the left side of their head or neck. They’re searching their memory. High probability of telling the truth.
  3. Cross their arms before they answer. This indicates defensive posture. They are NOT pleased with the question. High probability of stall tactics forthcoming.
  4. Answer the question with an initial high-pitched voice. Most children give this one away. They’re caught!
  5. Answer with a cracked voice. They’re caught!
  6. Touch or rub their nose just before or while answering. Not good! High probability of NOT telling the truth.
  7. Look down from your gaze. They are in defensive submission. Guilty your honor!
  8. Reverse the question. Classic defense that is used to buy time. “What are you talking about? Why do you always think I’ve done something wrong?” These reversals show a HIGH probability that you will NOT get a straight answer. Omission of detail usually comes next. Nip this in the bud NOW!
  9. Change the subject. Common defensive maneuver. Most of us let adults off the hook. This is NOT acceptable for your kids.
  10. Grab or clear their throat before or during answer. This reaction signals they feel threatened. Not a good sign!

Bonus Tip:

Intuition is real time information that you’re conscious mind does not possess, stemming from that intuitive reaction. It usually whispers to you and only once. LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION. More importantly, act on it.

Be honest with your children. Mold their honesty by your honest deeds. If you find a wallet full of money, take it to the proper authority and report it. Yes… it may cost you several hundred dollars that were in the wallet, but the value for your children is priceless. If they steal something, discipline them with swiftness and authority. Teach them that dishonesty has a steep price. They will always pay with embarrassment, ridicule, sorrow, anguish, shame, dejection, rejection, or misery.

Remember: Your kids are only as good as what they think/do when you’re not there. When you make honesty a habit, so will they.

FYI: The above body language readings work exactly the same for big people. Yikes!

Image credit: Penny Mathews

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