I don't know if this is true of all four year-olds, but my daughter has virtually no ability to deceive. Last night she took a minor step forward in this department, but she won't be fooling any polygraph machines for a while yet.
So, our bedtime ritual often includes a game of hide-and-seek. Recently this has consisted of one person hiding a large doll somewhere upstairs and then another person seeks it out. Last night my daughter did the hiding. When I came out for my seeking, my daugher announced, "Daddy! Don't look in your bedroom first!"
I explained to her that when she says things like that, that's a big clue to me that she has hidden the doll in my bedroom. "Oh," she said, "You can look in that room first."
I played along, however, and visited a few other rooms before entering my bedroom. My daughter quickly piped up and said, "Daddy, I don't even remember where I hid the doll, but it's NOT under the bed, so you don't have to look there."
I shot her a look and then played along for a bit. I checked behind the door and in the closet before peeking under the bed. Lo and behold, there was the doll! Who
My daughter gleefully bounded over to me and exclaimed, "I tricked you! Did you see that I told you that the doll WASN'T under the bed?!? It WAS under the bed!". She cackled to herself as I congratulated her on this fine bit of deception.
Parenting books don't really cover whether or not you should teach your kids to lie. Blast!