WHAT DO I DO IF MY CHILD IS TELLING LIES?
“I don’t know what to do, my daughter is telling lies. I have tried telling her it is wrong but she won’t stop. I’m really worried?
I have tried to find a single adult who has never lied. But alas, without success. Isn’t it interesting how upset and worried we, as parents get, when children have not mastered a virtue we have not mastered ourselves? I do not justify lying, but we do need to understand that children who lie are not defective or immoral.
Reasons children might lie:
. They may feel trapped.
. They may be scared of punishment.
. They may be afraid of rejection.
. They may feel threatened.
. They may just think lying will make things easier.
. They may want to get out of something they don’t want to do.
Suggestions to alleviate lying:
. Stop asking set-up questions that invite lying. A set-up question is one to which you already know the answer. “Did you clean your room?” Instead say, “I notice you didn’t clean your room. Would you like to work on a plan for cleaning it?”
Try to deal with the problem:
“What should we do about that?”
“That doesn’t sound like the truth to me? Why don’t we take time to think about this and later I will be available if you would like to share what is really going on?”
Planning ahead to prevent future problems
. Help your children to believe that making mistakes is ok. Without making mistakes, how can they learn. If they believe it is ok to make mistakes, they will not feel the need to lie to cover them up.
. Set an example in telling the truth. Share with your children times when you found it difficult to tell the truth. Be sure this is honest sharing and not a lecture.
. Let children know they are unconditionally loved. Many children lie because they do not want to disappoint you, their parent, with the truth. Show appreciation. “Thank you for telling me the truth. I do understand how difficult it was for you. I really admire you for doing that and facing the consequences.”
. Stop trying to control children. Many children feel the need to lie to find out who they are and do what they want to do. If you allow them to be themselves and not do just what you want them to do, they will not feel the need to lie about it.
Finally –a few tips for parents
. Many children lie to protect themselves from criticism because they believe it when adults say they are bad. Of course they want to avoid this kind of pain.
. Remember who your child is now is not who your child will be forever. If your child tells a lie, don’t overreact to the behavior by calling them a liar. Give a little thought to the underlying reasons first and try to deal with the issue without labeling your child and hurting his self-esteem.
. Focus on communication. Build closeness and trust in the relationship. If a child has an open, trusting relationship with you, he will not feel the need to lie to you.
“Children are the most precious of all, they need to be understood, cared for and loved in order to develop their hope in pursuing their dreams.”