Children are peculiar when it comes to lying as there are no rules given to them about when they should or shouldn’t lie. Therefore it is difficult to tell whether or not they’re telling the truth at times. Children lie in variety of situations for variety of reasons. Some children lie because they don’t have enough freedom; some children lie because they have too much. Others lie because of the environment they are being raised in; still others may lie because they fear the consequence of telling the truth. No matter what the reason, lying is a terrible habit to get into and will always get you into far more trouble than the worst consequence of being honest. Therefore, it’s critical to teach our children about telling the truth. If you have a child that won’t stop lying here are some tips for helping your child break the lying habit.
Talk about truth and reality
If your children are older they may already know the difference between telling a lie and telling the truth. If they are younger, however, you really need to sit down with them and explain the difference between reality and make believe; truth and lies. It helps many children if you can use stories to teach them. For example, you could read them a fairy tale and when you’re finished ask them if it’s a real story, or make believe. It’s going to take more than just one story so be patient as they try to grasp the concept. Once you have established the difference you can then talk about telling the truth and telling a lie.
Take away the ultimatum
Many parents believe that by giving their children an ultimatum it will get them to tell the truth. For example, if you don’t tell the truth I’m going to take away your toys for a week. Instead of telling that they’re going to lose their toys or that they’re going to be in big trouble for lying about something, explain to them that what’s important to you is that they tell the truth. You can worry about the consequence later; just get them to tell the truth first.
Giving the benefit of the doubt
Most children who lie don’t always get the benefit of the doubt because trust between the parent and child has been broken. However, it’s important to sit down with them and talk about gaining that trust back so that you can give them the benefit of the doubt more often than not. Believing in someone requires trust and it’s a privilege that must be earned. Your child needs to understand that people who don’t tell the truth cannot be trusted and until they understand that you will not be able to trust them. It’s somewhat of reverse psychology but for many children they want so badly to be trusted that it works.
Confession and repentance
If you confront your child about lying and they confess, be more lenient than if they had argued the point and tried to manipulate you into thinking that it wasn’t really a lie. Confessing a lie is the first step to making a change so make sure that you praise them for coming clean and being honest with you. There can be a consequence but don’t make it as harsh if they had lied about it in the first place. Remember the goal is to encourage and create a change. It’s not about the consequence.
Praise and reward
Like anyone else, most children will respond positively to praise and reward. When you see a negative behavior change into a positive one then praise them for it and offer a reward as incentive to continue the positive behavior.
These tips and suggestions for helping your child stop lying are not new ones, but they just might help you create the change you and your child need to have a better relationship.