I'm a body language expert – the top signs that show your child is lying and why it's bad news if they answer instantly | The Sun

WE may see our children as perfect little angels – but we know they can be cheeky when they want to be.

And it doesn't matter what you do as a parent, all children dabble with lying every once in a while.

It might be hard to spot whether they're lying – but Darren Stanton, a body language expert with twenty years of experience reveals to Fabulous the simple clues to catch them in a fib.

As an expert in deception detection thanks to his early career as a police officer, Darren, from Nottingham, England, explains that lies are linked to emotion.

The bigger the lie is, the more deceptive the body language will be – and as a parent, you want to look out for this 'leakage' Darren, working with Coffee Friend, explains.

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White Lies: Hands over their mouth

The more anyone tried to press a lie, the more it wants to get out – and this can visibly be seen through body language.

But for children, they can produce exaggerated 'leakage', as their perceived consequence of lying is greater than an adult would think.

One gesture to look out for is putting their hand over their mouth after speaking to you.

Expert Darren says:

"With this in mind, some key gestures the children tend to do when they are lying or trying to deceive their parents or teachers et cetera, they will overegg gestures in an attempt to seem more plausible.

"For example, a child may tell you a version of events but then almost immediately cover their mouth.

"This is a non-conscious gesture to try to stop the words from coming out."

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Answering before they've had the chance to really process the question can be a red flagCredit: Getty

White Lies: Answering instantly

If your child gives you an answer instantaneously, then it could mean they're lying to you.

For instance, asking if they have brushed their teeth and they mirror your question back quickly, could mean they haven't really done it.

Expert Darren says:

"That is generally a red flag for deception because the person was not expecting the question and they had no time to think about their own answer."

"If they had, they would be able to think about and process their own reply," Darren explains.

White Lies: No eye contact

Looking down is something both adults and children do when they're hiding something or feel shameful.

As adults, when we lie we try to maintain eye contact to prove we are being honest because as children we are taught liars cannot look someone in the eye.

Expert Darren says:

"When it comes to eye contact between family members and people that are close to us, it is typically five seconds on average before we begin to feel we need to look away.

"As adults when we are trying to lie we overcompensate eye contact because as children we are taught that liars cannot look someone in the eye.

"So, as adults we flip that idea and try to convey to the person that we are being honest by maintaining eye contact.

"In children, if eye contact is being maintained, they are usually telling the truth." 

White Lies: Hands tucked away

Learning to spot deceptive behaviour at the dinner table is particularly useful because face-to-face contact makes their behaviour clear.

If a child's innocent, then their tone of voice will be clear and they'll maintain normal levels of animation and hand gestures.

A child caught in a fib will change the pitch of their voice or place their hands under the table.

Expert Darren says:

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"Another thing they may do is place their hands under the table, because there is an expression in psychology called the ‘open palm gesture’, so when someone does not show us their hands it is often seen as a negative trait.

"Meanwhile, fidgeting is also a key indicator that a child may not be telling the whole truth so in this scenario, toying with cutlery or food could be a red flag."

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