The Child Who Loves to Exaggerate - How to Put a Stop to It

Do you have a little exaggerator in your family?  This is the child who makes stories better or worse than what they are.  The fantasy always sounds and looks better than reality in his or her eyes.  The little person seeks attention with her story-telling, enjoys the reaction he or she receives from listeners, and is testing his or her communication skills on anyone willing to listen.  The individual may one day be a writer, teacher, actor, or someone in a creative field.  Yet, exaggerating something is not good when it comes to basic communication. 

For instance, when a parent is looking to seek the truth about a matter, exaggeration is no different than lying.  Most people don't want to hear anything that makes something look worse than what it is.  Someone who is already upset about something doesn't want to have to hear things that are simply untrue whether the story-teller is a child or not.  Those who have been offended by a child's exaggerations will expect the parent to deal with the child.

So what to do?

Parents will need to teach children the difference between fantasy and reality, nonfiction and fiction, and the difference between lie and truth.  Test the child to see if what you have said resonates in his or her little brain.  Parents will also need to train your child to not only communicate better, but utilize good listening skills.  This might include reading and writing exercises, listening to recordings and then allowing for discussion, and question and answer sessions. 

You may or may not know whether your child is exaggerating an event; therefore, you will need the child to repeat the story.  Stop him or her mid-sentence when something doesn't sound right and ask him or her, "Why did you just say that?"  This will challenge him or her to think before he or she speaks.  You will also need to question others who may have witnessed what the child claims to have experienced.

When the child refuses to tell the truth, you should scold him or her and take away favorite items for each lie told.  You should also tell your son or daughter to think about what he or she said and make apologies whether verbally, through service, or in other ways to make wrongs right with offended individuals.

It is unfortunate that so many parents don't bother to admonish or correct children who exaggerate circumstances, stories, and more, but when you know that you have an exaggerator in your camp, don't hesitate to expose him or her before things get out of hand.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of When Mothers Cry, Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate, and other books.  You can visit a parenting blog that she maintains here.


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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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