Children lie. Maybe they are not being truthful about who ate the last cookie, maybe they are denying that were riding their bike out of the neighborhood, or maybe they shrug their shoulders when asked what happened to the dish you found in the trash. Children lie for a number of reasons.  As parents, it is our job to not only to teach our children that lying is wrong, but to create an atmosphere where telling the truth is the best option.

Children lie most often to get out of trouble.  Too often parents unwittingly set the stage that encourages the child to lie.  The number one mistake the parents make when confronting a child about lying, is not being truthful themselves.

Don’t trap the child so he or she has no choice but to lie.  For example, if you see your child deliberately break something.  Don’t ask the child if he broke it.  You know that he did. Let him know you saw him break the item and then ask him to tell you in his words how it happened.  The key, child psychologists say, is to find out the emotions behind the behavior and then show the child more acceptable ways to handle the emotion.

So, what should a parent do?  Here are four basic steps to build an atmosphere where telling the truth becomes the best option.

  1. Clearly communicate the difference between truth and fiction.  Incorporate this lesson repeatedly in different situations when your child’s honesty is not in question.
  2. Show your child how telling a lie affects others.  Children need to learn that their actions impact others and how others see them.
  3. Work with your child to develop alternative ways of handling difficult situations, so they won’t feel they have to lie.
  4. Model the behavior you want from your child.

All children have lied, but not all children grow up to be liars.  It is up to us, the parents, to show them the way to truth.



Leave a reply


Your email address will not be published.