Toddlers: First fibs
Such self-serving fibs are the first kinds of lies many young toddlers try out. As any mom of a toddler or preschooler can tell you, kids as young as 3 -- sometimes even 2 -- will tell very simple lies, denying they've done something or in order to gain something for themselves. It doesn't make sense to punish toddlers for truth bending, since they don't get that what they're doing is wrong.
Preschoolers: Small people, tall tales
This is the age of invisible friends, horned monsters, and talking rainbows.
Preschoolers' tall tales can be pure play, or sometimes wishful thinking . And it's not unusual for young kids to insist, that their fantasy world is real. "
If a particular tall tale troubles you, it's important to keep things in perspective. "If a child seems happy and has realistic relationships with the important people in his life, I would not be worried about his fantasizing. That's what children did before there was TV," Dr. Berger says. Remember that what seems outlandish to adults may simply be a child's way of processing new ideas.
Schoolkids: They've got their reasons
An important developmental step: the ability to tell a white (or "prosocial") lie -- one that benefits someone else or is told to avoid hurting someone's feelings. "It actually shows a bit of social awareness and sensitivity," says Crossman. Raising a compassionate child: An age-by-age guide
5- to 8-year-olds also still occasionally resort to the not-so-white lie. Kids this age do so for all sorts of understandable, even forgivable, reasons -- for example, they're afraid of how disappointed you'll be or the punishment they'll get, even because they're pressed beyond their capabilities.
Tweens: Growing fast and stretching the truth
Tweens are also apt to gloss over details of their lives they once freely spilled about. Don't be surprised if your child keeps mum about things she would have shared with you a year or two before, like the latest lunch-table gossip. This new secretiveness isn't dishonesty or a sign that your child is up to anything wrong. In fact, it reflects her growing maturity.