Is childish embellishment lying?

Is it?

As a parent, we can discern the difference between a lie and imaginative role-playing or story-telling. A lie, by definition, is an untruth with the intent to deceive. Most young children (our 5 year old, for example), make up wild stories about what they do during the day. “I saw a giant purple elephant!” well, it is untrue, but in their mind it probably isn’t! They SAW that purple elephant, or a worst they want to share a fantasy with mommy or daddy.

Where it’s a problem is when they’re caught doing something they’re not supposed to be doing, and they purposely tell and untruth to deceive and escape guilt or reprimand. That is a lie.

Examples:

Telling daddy she swung so high on the swing at school she jumped over the moon isn’t a lie. It’s a childish fantasy.

Telling daddy her friend broke her toy when, in fact, she broke it herself is a lie and should be appropriately addressed.

Take this at face value. I’m a Christian and a parent. I’m not a priest or a child psychologist.

Childish embellishment by a child or by an adult?

I agree with Chris Etzel’s response, entirely.

Young children and adults interpret data very differently. An adult on a swing set who sees the moon in the distance realizes that he is not swinging “over” it, whereas a young child doesn’t understand perspective and actually believes that he is swinging higher than the moon sits in the sky.

Telling daddy her friend broke her toy when, in fact, she broke it herself is a lie and should be appropriately addressed.

That’s exactly right: when the untruth spoken is obviously not playful or a misunderstanding, but deceptive, that’s when it’s time to correct the child.

Is this what gets fiction writers off the hook?

Prairie Dawn

(Who used to lie a lot before she got too busy, and would like to get back to lying for fun and perhaps, someday, profit if she could just get the guts to submit to a publisher…sigh.)

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