It’s one of things that aggravate us the most as parents. I don’t know anyone who likes to be lied to but when it’s our child doing the lying it sets off all kinds of triggers. Usually there is already something going on that makes us upset with them and when they lie about it on top of it all we are truly exasperated. There are many reasons why a child will lie to their parents but all of them can be corrected with some time, patience and learning some strategic techniques.
First, don’t lie to them. Remember your child learns from your example. How can you expect them to be truthful with you when you aren’t truthful with them? Whether it is something as insignificant as telling them that you’ll do something tomorrow (and then don’t), or something really important. Kids deserve the truth from you. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and follow through on all promises. If they ask you something that you don’t feel is an appropriate time for them to know the truth, simply tell them that you’ll discuss it with them when they’re older. But don’t make up something just to have something to tell them.
Don’t set them up for lying. Suppose you told Jack numerous times not to jump on his bed. He does it anyway, falls sideways and knocks the lamp off the table breaking it. You heard the crash and run to his room only to find the broken lamp and Jack whimpering while trying to pick it up. If you ask him if he was jumping on the bed, he will lie to you if he expects repercussions for it. You already know what happened, so why set him up to lie to you? Instead of asking him, you make a statement about the situation.
“I know you were jumping on the bed and now you’ve broken the lamp. It has to be replaced so you will have to pay for it by doing extra chores. “
If you ran into the room and immediately asked, “Were you jumping on the bed?”, most of the time the child will lie. A child will lie to keep from getting punished. They will lie when they think they will disappoint their parent. They will lie when they think they can get away with it. They will lie when that is the example set for them.
One of the best techniques to prevent your child from lying to you is to reward them for telling the truth. But, by all means, never punish your child for being honest. That doesn’t mean you still don’t punish the action, but first praise them for telling the truth. Then tell them that the usual punishment for the action is (insert the punishment you would usually give), but since they were truthful it will be decreased. For instance, if the punishment for Jack disobeying and jumping on the bed would usually be two days restriction from television time, tell him that because he told the truth he will only lose his television privileges for one day. When you handle it in this manner, he learns that honesty truly is the best policy. You can still give yourself props for doing your job as a parent and teaching Jack a great lesson at the same time.
Three strategies for breaking your child from lying.
- Don’t lie to them
- Don’t punish them for honesty
- Don’t set them up for failure
Keeping these strategies in mind will help build a bridge of trust between you and your child where you will know they always tell the truth, and they will know you will too.