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"My daughter makes things up about other people and themselves. I'm not really sure what to

Hi Mums,

This is not uncommon, and can be frustrating, confusing, and worrisome, but it’s okay! You’re not alone in this concern, and your daughter is not alone in this tendency.

The first thing to remember is that our girls are exceptionally perceptive of emotion. That means that when things are said, or events unfold, our girls are naturally most in tune to how everyone in the situation is feeling, versus what they are saying or doing. So, when remembering, the memories of feelings are very clear, but the actual details of what happened are out of focus. That means our girls retell stories that include incidents that may not have actually taken place when they are simply attempting to explain the emotion they remember by reporting that things happened that would clearly explain that emotion. For example, they may remember someone saying “you’re stupid” when what they really remember is feeling “stupid” per what the person said to them (though the name-calling didn’t actually happen). In these cases, it’s important to ask our girls what they felt, versus what took place. This allows them to describe what they know best, and often times, regardless what happened or didn’t, feelings are the most important to address, validate and plan for.

The second thing to remember is that our girls are very good at mimicking others in order to socially “keep up”. That means sometimes they may boast about things that aren’t true or change their word choices or statements of opinions depending on who they are speaking with. When it “doesn’t matter” (ie. There is no grave social consequence to the small lie) let these things go. It really is okay if our girls pretend to have seen a movie they haven’t seen. When these small lies have bigger consequences, let your daughter know what she can say instead when she’s in the situation again.

However, the most important thing to remember is that any feedback about these kinds of issues should be given warmly, in private, and in a way that lets our girls know that we understand that they don’t always do these things on purpose. When parents “call out” our girls, they don’t have the typical teenage or young adult reaction of getting angry at and rejecting the parent— our girls get angry at and reject themselves.

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