During the preschool years, children have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy. As a result they can be prone to self-deception, exaggeration and wishful thinking. The school-age child is more likely to tell a falsehood deliberately to avoid negative consequences or to gain an advantage.
Children’s development of morals and understanding of honesty can take time. Piaget distinguishes 3 stages in children’s understanding of lying:
Children’s lies take many forms, for example:
Common reasons for children lying include the following: