Do you remember ever having lied about doing your chores? As a child I often lied about doing my chores. Most of the time I only had a few hours on Saturday to do chores and that was not the day when I wanted to be spending my time bent over the toilet bowl. Not that there was a particular time when I would have like to do that, but let’s just say that Saturday was not ideal for anything related to work. I would tell my mom that everything was done and then I was out the door to play with my friends. Often she would not find out for a couple of days, but when she did I was in big trouble. It never seemed worth it to tell the truth though. I realized in later years that this was a terrible habit. It not only taught me that lying was something you could get away with, but it also taught me that I didn’t need to do my work. I started to think that I could lie my way out of just about anything. This set a negative pattern in my life that continued for many years and did not stop until I finally realized that lying was going to ruin my life. At this point I changed and have been quite honest in all of my business and personal dealings for several years. This was not an easy transition but it has greatly improved my life. So how can you help your child to avoid going through this situation? What should you do if your children start lying about doing their chores?
What I realized after many years of bad consequences was that my mother, despite her very good intentions, had not handled the situation very well. Like most parents she felt overwhelmed and was unsure of how to deal with me. She did not want to spend the time and energy monitoring me and penalizing me. Instead she allowed me to get away with it and then several days later would say something about it. What I realize was that she really needed to monitor me closely. The problem in many households is that the parent gives the chores but does not want to spend the time to see if they are actually done. We like to think that our children are working but we lack the energy to see if they are really doing it. Realize that when you give a child a responsibility you are giving them much more than just a particular job. You are giving them the opportunity to become responsible and honest. However, when you don’t follow through you are essentially telling them that the responsibility does not matter. Hence it is fine to lie about it! What you need to do is confront the child about the lying and explain why doing chores is so important. Explain that there are regular tasks that must be done in life if people are to live in a decent way. Finally, show them that you think it is important for them to be honest about chores by telling them that you will check up on the situation on the day that the chores are due.
By doing so you send them a message that says that honesty and responsibility are important. You tell them that you can’t lie and get away with it. This will set a positive pattern in their lives. Get your kids off to the right start by making sure that they are honest about their chores.