Sometimes people define lying as any time you communicate a non-truth (verbal or non-verbal). But I define lying as deception–any time you act or speak with an intent to mislead someone into believing a non-truth.

Our kids get in trouble for deception, not lying.  For example, when Siah got all worked up over Button lying because she asserted that we went to McDonald’s on Friday but we really went on Thursday, I explained that while what she said was not true, she also was not intending to mislead us.  She simply made a mistake with her facts.

Conversely, when I asked the kids, “you cleaned your rooms, right?” and they did not respond so as to give me the impression that they did when in fact they did not, that’s deception.  That’s a lie.  They didn’t say anything, but what they did was deceptive and therefore constituted a lie. 

When someone is being deceptive, they may display these classic signs of deception: anxious, unconcerned, defensive, overly polite (flattery), evasive, complaining, or guarded. Look for these behaviors as indicators of deception–people speak with their bodies more than they do with their mouths.