ADHD and Lying in Kids

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If you have a child who has ADHD, you may notice that they tend to tell little white lies often. They may not tell you big lies, but things like, “Yes, I did clean the bathroom,” when it is clear that they didn’t. So what is it about ADHD that makes them more susceptible to this type of dishonest behavior?

ADHD and the Brain

You may think that your child is irresponsible or has behavioral problems, but their brain functions a lot differently when it is afflicted with ADHD. It may be difficult to comprehend thinking in a different way when all you know is your own mind, but it is a good practice to try to put yourself in your child’s shoes so you can have more patience as you parent them through these frustrating times.

Psychologists believe that the main problem that can bring on behavioral issues in ADHD is the disruption in the executive functions. Your executive functions are:

Working Memory – Being able to keep information in the mind and then apply it.

Cognitive Flexibility – Being able to think about things in more than one way.

Inhibitory Control – Being able to ignore distractions and resist temptations.

Executive functioning is something that develops as we age. Brain imaging has shown us that over time, the regions of the brain become more distinct which is what improves executive functioning. In a brain of someone who has ADHD, there are malfunctions in some of these areas, slowing the development of executive functioning. But why does this lack of cognitive control cause children to tell those little white lies?

So What Makes Kids with ADHD Lie?

It's Easier

One theory that psychologists have to explain the little white lies that children with ADHD have is that it is just easier to get into trouble than it is to complete the task that they were asked to do. You may think that the task is simple, like picking up clothes off of the floor, but to them, it is a giant mountain almost impossible to climb. So instead, they will lie and deal with the consequences because they have gotten into trouble before and that is just easier for them than trying to conquer their frustrating ADHD.


Another reason your child with ADHD may be prone to lying is that they want to stay out of trouble. Having a hard time with following directions and a strict schedule, they can find themselves off task and not doing what they were supposed to do or going where they were told. If they just lied, they wouldn’t disappoint the people who were counting on them. They may already be aware that they don’t make the right choices, but they don’t really know why which may be causing them to dig themselves even deeper to save face.

How Can You Help?

As a parent, it may be hard watching your child struggle through ADHD while also having to deal with their negative behavior. One of the best things you can do is seek out a therapist who specializes in ADHD to help you and your child learn the proper coping mechanisms instead of resorting to lying. They can also give you tips on what methods of parenting would work best specifically for your child considering every child is different. If you are looking into medication to help reduce the symptoms of PTSD, talk to your doctor about using CBD which has shown to help reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Sarah Potts


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