When the child firmly believes in the stories he invents

► “These fables are the beauty of our profession”

Michele Guerinformer teacher and author (1)

“I taught for ten years in kindergarten and I really enjoyed hearing the discoveries, the little words of the children to the point of bringing them together in a book. I believe that the child appears there in what he really is, which is always touching for the person who listens to him. It’s the same with the little stories he invents. They are also the beauty of our profession.

→ ANALYSIS. “I live on the Moon”, “I flew with my unicorn”… Why does my child confabulate?

I remember a little boy who told his mistress that his parents were going to buy him a little brother but that he doubted it a little, because his father, who knew how to do everything in the house – even the furniture, had- he clarified – was not even going to waste money on this type of purchase. The teacher then smiled but also spoke to him, telling him that she didn’t really believe this story either.

In a way, he was trying to be reassured and to put words to an event he didn’t quite understand: the arrival of a little brother. These little stories are therefore not useless, and must be listened to with respect by adults. In other cases, however, these tall tales can be a big excuse not to work. That said, even very young children have also understood the benefit they can derive from pretty stories and are capable of a lot of bad faith. Some, when they do not feel like working, do not hesitate to affirm that their hand is “too small to write” Where “too tired”. Usually we laugh about it, but not in front of them so as not to hurt them. »

► “It became more complicated as I grew up”

Pauline 40 years oldmother of two children, including an 8-year-old son

“My son always told a lot of stories when he was little. For him, the border between fiction and reality did not exist and he firmly believed in what he was inventing: extraterrestrials, dinosaurs crossed in the street… It became more complicated as he grew up. Recently he’s gotten more skilled and slipped into some kind of lie “for fun”. No doubt partly to better capture the audience, as well as a taste for the game, it seems to me.

→ MAINTENANCE. Muriel Bloch: “The story is a reservoir of true emotions”

He now loves to embark on wacky stories, where he stages his friends. I sometimes recognize in his inventions the influence of comic book or cartoon heroes. He invents as he goes, always pushing the envelope a little further. The pinnacle being the day he managed to fool us that one of his friends had stolen a cigarette from his father and had lit it in the schoolyard. Finally, faced with our frightened faces, he ended up, on his own, bursting out laughing and admitting that everything was wrong. Still, it wasn’t really a lie. He was jubilant to have managed to make us walk and, by the way, he probably had the answer to the question he was asking himself: how would my parents have reacted if that had been true? »


Some Books on Lying

♦ For children

Max tells canards

By Dominique de Saint-Mars and Serge Bloch, Ed. Calligram, from 6 years old

A story to understand that “canards” are often a way of protecting yourself, defending yourself and making yourself loved when you don’t have enough self-confidence. But that it is always better to be sincere, to accept yourself as you are, and to know how to laugh at yourself!


By Geoffroy de Pennart, Ed. Kaleidoscope, 2017, from 2 to 4 years old

Two friends, Lucas the wolf and Maurice the pig, organize the meeting of their respective dads. But these two already know each other… Between humor, bad faith and then reconciliation, each delivers their version of the truth!


by Carlo Collodi, Ed. Gallimard, “Folio Junior”, from CM1

This staple of children’s literature written in 1881, which has become a Disney classic, teaches children of yesterday and today that lying and living in fantasy is ultimately not easy. To meditate, from 9 years old.

♦ For Parents

Little silences, little lies, by Dana Castro, Ed. Albin Michel, 2012

Children don’t tell everything, they keep quiet, tell stories or outright lie. Dana Castro, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, helps to distinguish the different types of lies, between the child who locks himself in a heavy silence masking a real difficulty and the one who tries to make believe nonsense, or who simply has no do not want to talk.


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