Which kids are capable of lying?


Well-Known Member
I know this is a generalization, but I keep reading in various child psychiatric books that certain kids cannot lie, especially if they're low functioning Autistic, etc.
My difficult child is ODD, ADHD, and possibly has Aspberger's and he is the consumate liar. The lying doesn't rule out that diagnosis does it?
Again, maybe I'm being too absolute but there are certain patterns that I've read about, and I've seen them in your notes, too.
I want to know why they can or cannot lie and how their minds work that affect that ability or lack thereof.
Thanks in advance for any info.


Active Member
My son with Aspergers/PDDNOS is also a liar.

I think very low functioning children have trouble lying because they can't make up an alternate story. I don't think there is any diagnosis that requires an inability to lie.


Active Member
As far as I know, my Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) difficult child doesn't lie, at least I've never caught him in one. I think, as mentioned, he just can't think up a story to tell instead, what happened is what happened. He's always maintained he has no imagination, and it is hard for him to come up with stories for school etc. I think he probably can tell a lie, I don't think he's totally incapable of it.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Maybe my difficult child is to young to lie still??? But she is SO honest... I have seen her try to change a story, but she always tells us what really happened. She basically has to, it is her nature. For now... She will hide first and say I am scared because I did something wrong, she is always convinced she is going to be horribly punished or we will hate her!!! Which has never happened. But she still tells us!

house of cards

New Member
My son is a professional liar. He has lied to a psychologist and was completely believable to her. He does the correct eye contact and everything.


Well-Known Member
Oh, okay... it's probably lack of imagination... that makes sense.
Of course, my son's favorite words are "NO!" and "I didn't do it!" even when we're calling him for dinner. :wink:


Well-Known Member
Terry, my difficult child would walk by the table I was sitting at, look me in face, look away, knock something off the table and tell me she did not do it. I would ask her to pick it up anyway and of course she would refuse because she did not do it.
It was quite amazing actually, because it really seemed that she believed she did not do it.


Going Green
My difficult child lies so much it's become automatic for him. If you ask him a normal question, the first words out of his mouth automatically are a lie. He'll then correct himself but it's become common for him to just lie before anything else. Of course he doesn't understand why we never believe a thing that comes out of his mouth and then he gets mad. :hammer: :rolleyes:


Well-Known Member
"my difficult child would walk by the table I was sitting at, look me in face, look away, knock something off the table and tell me she did not do it."

Wow! I'd be tempted to trip her and say, "I didn't do it!" Reminds me of the scene in Lion King when Simba keeps saying there's no use trying, he has no responsiblity because it's all in the past. Then the monkey sage bops Simba on the head with-his staff. Simba yells, "Hey, what did you do that for?" and the sage replies, "It doesn't matter. It's in the past."

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

The tweedles lying is a serious maladaptive behavior - learned young in life to stay out of trouble/danger in the bio home.

We've found it to be seriously ingrained & hard to break. Many many times I ask kt or wm if they want to "redo" that answer. Give them the chance to correct the untruth they had just blurted out.

That seems to work better than any other technique we've tried over the years.

Both difficult child 1 and difficult child 2 lie all the time!!! In fact, it is their normal form of communication!!! I've tried everything to get them to tell the truth - NOTHING WORKS :grrr:!!! I've even tried Linda's method of asking them if they want to "redo" their answers.

If difficult child 2 is caught in the act of doing something he shouldn't do, he'll still lie and say he didn't do it even if I saw him do it :grrr:. difficult child 1 used to be the same exact way. However, and this is only within the last year, if I catch difficult child 1 while he is doing something he shouldn't do, about half the time he'll admit he did it. The other times, he'll still lie even if he knows I saw him do it. Both difficult child 1 and difficult child 2 can't understand why I don't trust them :hammer: :rofl:.

difficult child 2 takes this one step further though. When caught, after he is done saying he didn't do something he obviously did, he'll proceed to call me a f-ckin' b-tch over and over and over again... If I'm lucky, he'll only swear at me. Other times, he'll work himself up into a full blown rage, complete with lots of flying objects, trying to hit or punch me, etc... The fun never ends... Sorry, I think I'm beginning to get off subject a bit...

Anyway, when you figure out how to get difficult children to tell the truth, please let me know!!! For me, it would be nothing short of a miracle :angel: WFEN


Well-Known Member
"Give them the chance to correct the untruth they had just blurted out.
That seems to work better than any other technique we've tried over the years."

Good idea. Less confrontational. I'm still learning...


(the future) MRS. GERE
I inadvertently "taught" Rob how to lie.

"Honey," said I, "I know you're not telling me the truth because you aren't looking at me."

So now he looks me dead in the eye and lies. :hammer:



Active Member
It IS autism where the kids allegedly cannot lie. And this is true, to a certain extent. But we all have different definitions of what is a lie. Plus, you have to consider the definition of "lie" from the child's point of view to see where it fits in.

difficult child 3 CAN lie, but he can't invent a complex alternate reality. So when challenged by a teacher he would say, "I didn't do it," when he later admitted he DID do it, but he couldn't say, "I didn't do it because I wasn't there, I had been called up to the principal's office to do a job for the principal, I don't know what happened because I was doing a task for Mr J." Unless, of course, it was true.

difficult child 1 would try to lie also, but would make a hash of it. Both boys try to lie (although I think they're giving it up now, because I keep catching them out) but they are so BAD at it.

There ARE times when one of my difficult children will tell me something complex which I know is not true. When I discuss it with them it turns out that they BELIEVE it to be true. Example: difficult child 1 says, "I'm not washing up tonight - I washed up last night!"
When we think about it, ask around, there is no way difficult child 1 could have washed up last night because he wasn't home for dinner. BUT we do find that difficult child 1 DID wash up the last night he was home. So what he remembered was what he claimed to be true - because he genuinely believed it to be true. This is not a lie, although some people would call it one.

Another variation on this is when a difficult child WANTS a particular answer to be true, to such an extent that he convinces himself. Whenever we remember something we are actually rewriting that memory into our heads. So if a child mentally confuses what he wants to remember with what he SHOULD remember, you will get what appears to be lying. However, this tends to involve more creative thinking than you find commonly in autism - but you might find it in the highest functioning autistic kids.

Also, they can LEARN how to lie effectively. difficult child 3 was sending an email to his aunt, thanking her for a birthday present which I KNOW he was rather underwhelmed with. He was enthusiastic about it in his email, thanking her and saying it was just what he wanted. It looked very much lie the standard email you would send to someone - you NEVER say what you really thought, if it was something you didn't really want. And difficult child 3 seems to have mastered the art of lying to be polite. Sometimes, anyway. Drafting an email gave him time to choose his words, which is why I think he was able to do it.

So we live in a world where we HAVE to be able to lie, to a certain extent. Every bloke, when he has to deal with the women in his life, has to be able to survive answering the question, "Does my back end look big in this?"
For males especially, lying is a survival need.



New Member
My difficult child is so untruthful that his therapist has said that he has no credibility. That is how I feel also. I feel I cannot allow myself to totally believe anything he says. I'm never surprised that when I catch him in a lie. Actually it is the other way around I am surprised when I catch him in a truth. -RM


Well-Known Member
Any child is capable of lying, difficult child or not. However, autistic kids often tend to tell the truth more often or at least fess up. My son may lie, but, when faced with it, he can't do it and admits what he's done (in detail). Many Aspie kids are extreme truth tellers. I do not know if all of them are. I would think compulsive lying is not an AS trait, but, again, I really don't know. Lucas is the worst liar on earth. He can't look me in the eye and he makes up stories with holes in them as large as swiss cheese. Many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids have co-morbid problems, such as mood disorders.


Because nothing is ever his fault, he lies AND believes himself. Unfortunately husband believes him too. Causing many issues in our life. he is so very good at it. But, I have been burned to many times. Now I don't believe anything.


Well-Known Member
Hmmm.... if that's true, then it wipes out my difficult child Asperberger's possilibity. Last yr he invented a story about a man somewhere, I can't recall why this person had to exist, but difficult child really had us going. He described hair color, height, clothing, stance, type of vehicle, time of day.
It's possible he saw it on a TV show and just lifted it and used it for his own purposes. It's very like him to memorize entire pkgs and repeat them verbatim. But for him to use it for his own purposes is weird.
After a couple of days we figured it all out. We were flabbergasted.
I'm still confused.