“Honesty is the best policy”. This is what you learned in your childhood, and ought to teach your kids too!
Because being honest makes you trustworthy and reliable in other’s eyes. And that’s crucial for your child’s social well-being. If the kids lie, you or anyone else won’t be able to trust them. They won’t be able to build trusting and healthy relationships with anyone, which is not good for their self-esteem and emotional health.
But, even if you teach your child to speak the truth, won’t he tell a lie ever?
THAT’S A HARD CORE TRUTH to DIGEST!
He still can!
So, what do you do when you find your kids lie all day?
This post gives a quick, easy fix to all parents bowed down by the habit of lying in their children. (3-8 years old)
Before I give you the tips, I want you to understand one basic thing.
Why do children lie?
Children learn to tell lies as early as three years of age. Your child realises that you aren’t a mind reader, so he can say things that aren’t true without you knowing.
As he grows, he gets better at telling lies by matching his facial expressions and the voice tone to what he says.
Your kids lie to:
- Cover up their mistake and avoid getting into a trouble
- Check the way you will respond on hearing them lie
- Just to make stories
- Get your attention
- Get something they want
But, the major thing is…
How to respond when your kids lie?
A CORRECT response to a lying child involves just 3 steps. If you follow these steps repeatedly, I guarantee that your child will outgrow his habit of lying.
#1 Do not react in rage
A usual and the first response to your child’s lies is ANGER. Isn’t it?
Though you have a good intention to teach your child to speak the truth, shouting in anger for the same does more harm than good.
IT INSTILS ANGER AND AGGRESSIVENESS IN YOUR CHILD.
So, keep your calm and think about the next step.
#2 Understand the lying child psychology
As said before, children have different reasons to lie. And they don’t lie for the same reason every time.
So, before taking any further step, know why your child is lying.
In fact, dealing with a lying child involves two things: dealing with his lies and dealing with the behaviour that leads to a lie.
- If your kid lies to cover up his mistake, ponder how you react over his mistakes. Learn a more positive way to deal with your child’s mistakes instead of shouting or yelling.
- If your child seeks your attention, consider more positive ways to give him that attention. He demands your quality time, which maybe you are not giving him and he seeks for it in this way.
- If he lies to get something he wants, think about a rewards system that makes him earn it.
#3 Reinforce the importance of truth
Use a logical consequence when your kids lie. For example, if the child broke his toy and tells a lie, he doesn’t get to play with the toy for that day.
Explain calmly to him why lying isn’t OK, how it makes you feel, how it affects your relationship with him, and what it might be like if family and friends stop trusting him.
Praise your child each time he tells you the truth. This reinforces the positive behaviour in him.
But, what if kids lie about abuse or serious issues?
Sometimes children who are abused by an adult will lie to protect that adult. Here the child fears that he’ll be punished if he tells the truth.
If you find your child lying about a serious matter:
- Reassure your child that he/she will be safe if they tell you the truth.
- Do your best to convince your child that you can help him and make things better.
Last, but not the least….
Children pick up the habit of lying from their parents. Parents often get tempted to tell lies to manage their kid’s behaviour. For example, if your kid asks for the chocolates at the store, you might avoid it by saying that you didn’t bring any money. This might work once, but if you tell such “white lies’ often, it will lead to arguments with the child, his loss of trust on you, and instil the habit of lying in him.
So, although harmless, use white lies only when necessary.
Further, don’t respond to your kids’ lies in anger. Probe the reasons behind his lies and reinforce the importance of speaking the truth through logical consequences.
So, what’s your take on these tips? Have any more to add? All suggestions are welcome in the comments below!
Found the tips useful? Then, share it with others too!