The Real Reasons Kids with ADHD Lie—and Ways to Help Them Stop
Lying can be a habit for some kids with ADHD. Learn why—and how to help them quit.
ADHD and lying
Most kids lie or avoid telling the truth on occasion. But if your child has Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you might find yourself often asking him, “Why are you lying again?” If that’s the case, you’re not alone.
Not all kids with ADHD tell frequent lies. In fact, some are impulsively honest, which can create its own problems. But for those who do lie, it can quickly become a habit. When they do consistently lie, it’s usually not about big things like stealing or cheating.
(Although they may occasionally do that too, just like other kids.) Instead, they may lie about everyday things like chores and work. “This type of lying isn’t about defiance.
It’s about having trouble coping with challenges,” says Ellen Braaten, PhD, director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and advisor on learning and attention issues for Understood.org.
Here’s what you need to know about ADHD in children and frequent lying.
Lying to avoid accountability
Picture this common scenario: You send your child to clean up his room.
After an hour you call out and ask if his room is clean. He says yes. But when you go to check, the room’s still a mess, and he’s on his unmade bed reading.
Why would he say something that was so obviously not true, and risk getting in trouble? Especially for something as simple as cleaning up? But that’s the issue: The task of cleaning up isn’t simple for him.
His difficulties with starting tasks and planning them out makes it hard for him to do what you’ve asked. And rather than face those difficulties or ask for help, he does nothing.
Lying takes away the pressure of having to figure out how to clean his room. And that’s worth getting in trouble for, especially if he’s used to it.