Lying & murdering

Lying & murdering

The Easter story is not complete without the crucial role that the Jews and their leaders played in presenting an untruth that got an innocent Jesus crucified.


Then there’s the main protagonist called Judas Iscariot, infamous for his betrayal of his own brother for a pittance of 30 silver coins.

It is easy to look upon the faults of these characters in this story with disdain, often thinking ourselves to be better than them. We do not stop to consider the many ways by which we also make up stories that are untrue and how we falsely accuse and betray others in our settings.

It must be the desire of every parent to raise children in an environment where the culture of honesty is esteemed. This is especially true where we so much wish for them to climb higher in life. Children who do not have the opportunity to learn the importance of honesty struggle with issues of integrity which impacts on their career progression. 

Most children start telling lies from an early age, usually around 3 years of age. 

Between 4-6 years of age they are likely to tell more untruths but easily own up when asked to explain.

They learn to match their facial expressions and the tone of their voices to what they’re saying, in order to sound more convincing.

As they grow older, they learn to lie more successfully without getting caught, and the lying behaviour can become complicated.

Failure to pay keen attention to the behaviour of our children and the lies they tell can result in their growing up to be cowards who never take responsibility and accountability for their own actions. They will find lying an easier option and will not really care about doing what’s right because there will always be a way around it. This behaviour of making lame excuses, justifications and rationalisations impact relationships deeply because such people are perceived as people who do not respect themselves, and therefore not worthy of being respected. Hardly will anyone take such persons serious. 


This kind of behaviour must therefore be dealt with strictly in childhood before it becomes entrenched.

Children tell lies for various reasons. First of all, they learn from the adults around them. In a study conducted by some therapists in the US, they discovered that lying on a phone call is 70 per cent more likely to feature lies than a face-to-face chat. Children listen to our phone conversations, and our seeming comfort with telling lies assures them that it’s okay to also tell untruths.

Some children lie because of the fear of punishment. In many Ghanaian homes, parents start off by asking ‘who broke the plate?’ or ‘who did one thing or the other. This is usually followed by angry words and sometimes physical punishment. Children learn to instinctively tell lies when that question is posed. Our interest should not be so much in retributive judgment as much as in encouraging them to muster courage and own up fearlessly when they do the wrong thing. Adults must learn to deal separately with the lying and the behaviour that led to it. 

While younger children often tell lies to make a story sound more exciting, older children do that to avoid hurting the feelings of others. 

Other reasons some adolescents lie is to please their friends, to get attention or make themselves sound better so they can fit in. 

We should seize the opportunity this Easter to discuss with our children the four ways by which deception manifests: by telling half-truths, skirting questions, exaggerating and telling outright lies.

More importantly, let’s commit to living honest lives that they can emulate.

The writer is a Child Development expert/Fellow at Zero-to-three Academy, USA
E-mail: [email protected]

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