Lying is a frustrating challenge for parents. But If you understand why children lie, you can help your children be more honest. It simply refers to changes in the way your child organizes information. It’s a normal step, so you don’t have to worry about your child becoming a pathological liar.
Children often have a legitimate reason to stretch the truth: they want to avoid punishment, parental disappointment, or an unpleasant outcome.
So they may lie about a bad choice they’ve made, or make up ridiculous stories to impress you.
And of course, if our children lie to us outright, we want to punish them to make sure it doesn’t happen again.Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens: if we punish kids for lying, to avoid future punishment, certainly they’ll continue to do so.
So if we can’t punish them, how to stop a child from lying?
By looking at the reasons why children lie, we can create an environment where they feel safe to tell the truth. By following seven tips you can stop your child from lying and make your home a more honest place.
1. Don’t make up a lie.
If you see piles of clothes on your child’s floor, don’t ask him if he has ever cleaned her room.
When we ask questions we already know the answer to, we give our children the opportunity to tell a lie. Instead, focus on how to fix the situation. If you know that your child hasn’t touched his homework, ask him, “What are your plans to finish your homework?
Instead of asking : “Where did all this mud come from,” ask, “What can we do to clean it up and make sure it doesn’t happen again next time?
This can help avoid a power struggle and allow your child to save face by focusing on a plan of action rather than making up an excuse.
It also teaches them what they can do next time – sit down with their homework right after school or take their shoes off in the locker room instead of in the classroom – to avoid problems.
2. Stay calm and cool.
Watch how you react to bad behavior and mistakes in your home, whether it’s spilled juice on the carpet or homework.If your children are afraid of being yelled at or punished when they make mistakes, they won’t want to come and tell you the truth.
Discuss solutions to the problem with your child rather than getting angry and blaming others. Focus on using a calm voice – yes, it can be difficult, but it can be done. This does not mean that children are not guilty of lying.
3. Get the whole truth.
Even if we want to put our child in the hot seat when we catch him lying, blaming him or her will only make things worse.
Encourage your child to tell the truth in the future by getting to the root of the problem and trying to understand why he couldn’t be honest with you.
Open a conversation gently, saying, “That sounds like a story to me. You must be worried about something and afraid to tell the truth. Let’s talk about it. What would help you be honest?”
4. The pleasure of rehearsing.
Seeing mistakes as a way to learn how to make better decisions.By staying calm and avoiding yelling or punishing your child for his mistakes, your child is more likely to admit his mistakes in the future.
Turn the mistake into an opportunity to learn.
Ask, “If you could do it over again, what would you do differently,” and think of diverse ideas. If someone else was hurt, perhaps you broke your brother’s scooter, ask what you can do to make things right with the other party.
5. Celebrate honesty.
Even if you’re upset that there’s a sea of water on the bathroom floor because your child tried to bathe her dolls in the sink, praise her for coming to you and telling you the truth.
Tell him, “I really appreciate you telling me what really happened. It must have been difficult for you, but I really appreciate you telling the truth and taking responsibility.
6. Show love.
Let your children know that you love them unconditionally, even when they make mistakes.
Make sure they know that even if you don’t like their bad behavior, you will never love them less for the mistakes they may make. This helps your children feel safe when they open up to you.
7. Follow their lead.
Remember that your children are always looking out for you and learning from your actions.
Those little white lies we tell, whether it’s to get out of the dog seat for the neighbors or to help raise money for the school, are not harmless – they show your children that it’s okay to lie.
These tips will help you put your family on the path to a more honest home. But remember, it takes time to build trust. Be patient.
However, if your child continues to lie often or lies with the intent of hurting others, you may want to consider providing him or her with professional advice or other help.