ADHD and Lying

Today we’re gonna talk about ADHD and Lying.

I’m Angela Howard and my passion is to break the stigma of mental health issues among fellow Christians. If you’re new to my channel please subscribe and don’t forget to click on that notifications bell so you don’t miss out on any of the new content.

One of the most common responses I hear when speaking on ADHD issues is that kids or adults are just making excuses for their bad behavior. I mean anyone can have a problem with lying, perfectionism, messiness, boredom, or mood swings. Well, that’s true, we are all human and we all struggle with different hang ups. The key difference with ADHD is the why behind the struggle. One of those learning and attention issues is a weakness in executive functioning.

Executive functioning is often referred to as the CEO of our brains and it allows a person to plan, organize, structure tasks, use their working memory effectively, have self-control, and be flexible in their thinking.

So how does that relate to lying? We definitely don’t want to excuse lying, but we want to understand why lying can be more common with people with ADHD and here’s why…

The struggle with executive functioning makes it harder for them to:

  • Make a connection with the immediate situation and future consequences.
  • Be effective with organization and management of their time.
  • Processing how they ended up in the situation that ended with lie—“How did I get here anyway?”

And sometimes it’s simply an optimistic outlook. They thought about it, so they probably did it… “Yeah, I paid that bill.” Or “Sure, I turned in that homework assignment.”

How can parents motivate kids with ADHD to break the habit of lying?

  1. Be intentional about teaching those connections that don’t seem obvious to them. Ask questions and help them break down the steps that landed them where they are and walk through how they can make a different decision next time. This isn’t something you teach once. It’s an ongoing conversation so that they can learn pattern recognition.
  2. Set them up for success, not failure. Sometimes it’s tempting to want to catch your kid in a lie, but the best thing for kids with ADHD is to remove the shame and be consistent with consequences.
  3. Be patient. It’s about them, not you. It’s not a personal attack on you as a parent when they lie. This is an issue of brain development and a weakness of executive function. Be the adult and have a thick skin.

The best gift we can give our loved ones is spelled out beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:7


Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)

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