Our expert says:
Some people have an unpleasant idea of a "joke", don't they ? I tell them, if yopu're the only one laughing, that wasn't a joke. "It's only a joke" is usually a feeble excuse to avoid taking responsibility for a lie or just a deliberately unkind and horrible thing that got said.
Some kids do this as a teenager, and will continue if it is rewarding to them. Sometimes, if we make a large fuss about taking them seriously, they enjoy this and keep it up. If on the other hand we sigh and comment that it's pathetic that she's talking nonsense again, and obviously she's not growing up into a real woman, if she sees her comments treated as something that won't be taken seriously, and something that makes HER look small and bad, and not the person she may be talking about, she may find it unrewarding to continue.
She surely knows the difference between truth and lies, as I doubt her lies are randomly inaccurate, rather than carefully chosen untruths about people and events, selected to cause a fuss or to upset people. I don't think her parents divorce has anything to do with this.
It might help for her to see a child psychologist who could discuss this with her, and could also advise you on methods to use to discourage this. Meanwhile, you can talk calmly, serioulsy but firmly with her about how lying is not accepted and ask whether she realizes, like the old story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, it may lead to people never taking her seriously or believing her, even when she may really want and need people to believe her. Inquire about what she thinks she is doing, and why she persists in doing it
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