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Lying: Why kids with ADHD lie and what to do about it

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Published on Jun 11, 2014

For adults, it can be frustrating to catch a child in a lie:

• Why wasn't your child truthful?
• What is she trying to cover-up?
• Did he think you wouldn't figure out he had been dishonest?

Though lying is a very common childhood behavior, it is one that is very often misunderstood by parents. Parents often make two mistakes when it comes to dealing with lying: treating lying as if it were the end of the world and some kind of horrible crime; and parents do not understand the reasons why kids tell lies.

It may be true that children affected by ADHD are more prone to lying than most youngsters are. The reason for this is tied to the fundamental and most frequent reason why kids lie in the first place. Most lies are attempts—sometimes primitive and sometimes more sophisticated—to cover up things that, unfortunately, kids affected by ADHD are very good at: mistakes, misbehavior, disorganization, and forgetfulness!

Dr. Thomas Phelan will discuss ways of approaching lying in a calm but still assertive manner. What do you do right at the time you think a child is lying? How do you try to get at the truth? What do you do if you find out later that what you were told is not the case? If you're the parent of an ADHD child, it is extremely important that you have routines for preventing as well as managing this problem.

A registered clinical psychologist, Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D. has worked with children, adults and families for over 30 years. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Illinois Psychological Association.




Dr. Phelan received his Doctorate from Loyola University, Chicago, in 1970 after completing his internship at the Loyola Child Guidance Center. He worked at the DuPage County Mental Health Center until 1972 and then entered private practice. Dr. Phelan has also served on the boards of directors for both ADDA and CHADD, two national organizations for the parents of children with ADD. He was inducted into the CHADD Hall of Fame in 1997.

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