Volume 35, Issue 3 (May 1990)
Children Don't Always Tell the Truth
Although children are being more frequently called as witnesses in court proceedings, they often do not tell the truth. If lying is defined as giving a false statement for personal gain, then lying is only one of several causes for children not giving an accurate account of events. Other reasons include an immature brain, a congenitally acquired defect in the central nervous system, or the presence of an emotional disturbance such as psychosis or hysteria. The desire of a child to please others—that is, parents, therapists, or lawyers—may also result in an invalid statement. These factors and motivations should be considered in trying to interpret a youngster's statement.