The quickest way to teach a child to lie is to overreact when they tell the truth!  Who in their right mind wants to walk into a hurricane?  Not I, Not you, not our children either.  They learn very young how to avoid uncomfortable situations and it includes lying.  It's true no matter what they're age.  Everyone makes mistakes and everyone needs to know they have a safe place to go and admit their wrongs without being overly punished.  How would you handle a friend who confesses they've accidentally put a dent in your car?  Hopefully graciously and with some sanity.  We have to approach our children with as much respect as we do anyone else in our lives.  This doesn't mean that we don't punish them, but a reasonable and calm punishment is something a child can handle and learn from.
It begins with a small lack of self control that grows, if not captured, into child abuse. Even small doses of over reacting and over punishing can start an onslaught of trouble in child rearing.  Be the solution, try very hard not to frustrate the problem.  I am a Christian mom and I find much of my strength in parenting and in marriage from my faith.  We've all heard that children should honor their parents right?  But did you also know that the Bible tells parents not to provoke their children to anger?  Provoking our children to anger distracts, frustrates, causes them not to trust that we genuinely care as we say we do.  Suddenly there is a mixed message between what we say and what we do, and ultimately this discourages children, which is the worst of the three.  This has nothing to do with trying not to ever make your kids mad because they will get mad anyway, but can we expect obedience and self control by displaying disobedience to God and a lack of self control with our children?  Children learn as much of what we do as they that of what we say.   This is about maintaining control in a situation that demands leadership which must come from parents.  Not just in what we say, but HOW we say what we say and how we act as parents. Things like keeping your voice low and speaking gently and slowly; no panic voice.  In today's world, people have just lost their cool!  They either ignore them or frustrate them even to the point of death, in some cases.  I hear more and more about children who are committing suicide and extremely young ages.  Kids should be enjoying their youth, not committing suicide.  It is time for parents to start getting a grip on their emotions and not on their children.  When the reaction is way over the top and the punishment doesn't fit the crime it just leaves the child confused and hurt, not only confused about what they really did, but also about whether their parents love them the way they originally thought. It creates serious security issues in children to feel they cannot trust their parents when there should be no greater trust than that between parent and child.  If a parent can't be the safe, forgiving and loving (even in the midst of discipline) place a child goes to in this world, who is?  Well, someone will definitely step in to say they are and at that point our children are in trouble!  Don't allow that to happen. 

We make it a point in our home to reserve heavier punishments specifically for lying because we tell our children that we can handle their mistakes, but we can't trust them if they practice lying to us.  I've had situations where both of my girls would stand in front of me knowing full well who was at fault for the marking all over the walls in permanent ink and lie and blame each other.  One of them knew and one of them had no plan to let it be known for sure who it was.  I have taught them at this point in their young lives that when I say, "Now I am going to ask you again who did this, not because I don't already know, but because I am giving you a chance to tell the truth and receive a lighter punishment, but if you must lie to me, then you will receive punishment for what you did and punishment for lying."  The culprit immediately fesses up because she knows I will not rest until I have found out.  I make it a point to appear much more forgiving at that point even though I had to coax it out of them, that is all part of the training process.  They expect us to be honest with them and we expect them to be honest with us.  Will kids test us to see if they can lie?  Of course, every single child will do that, but I'm taking about habits and training them to come to you with the truth even when you don't ask or know what has happened.  We do not want to cause them to make a habit of negative traits just because we aren't in control of ourselves and our roles as parents to handle issues when they arise.  The truth is, if we just try not to sweat the small things and not get out of whack over every little negative surprise, because goodness knows, parenting doesn't come without a plenitude of it, then we can reserve our "shock face" for the really bad stuff and at least it will seem reasonable when everyone looks back on it in the end.  A good sense of humor goes a long way in uncomfortable times.  Forgive our children as easily as God has forgiven each of us.  Teach them that you love them and give them a safe place to fall in this world.  Growing up is hard enough, having an enemy in the house is unbearable.