Every child lies sometimes, and you shouldn’t perceive the little amount of dishonesty as a red flag. Think back to the countless times you, the parents, have lied.
Although everyone gets a certain number of harmful lies to use, the amount isn’t much. In case the lying becomes regular, it can turn into a problem.
Your child needs to steer clear from lying. Teaching your child the value and importance of truthfulness and honesty is a necessary life skill. It also develops the importance of responsibility and reliance.
Lying can turn into an addictive habit if your child realizes that it can get them out of trouble. So, if you catch your child lying, address it immediately, and discourage it from happening again.
Today’s article aims to help parents deal with kids who lie. You’ll come across several useful techniques that can help you to stop one lie from transforming into a full-fledged habit.
You’ll also understand the tricks of the lying trade, and you’ll have more clarity on how to get your children on the path of truthfulness.
So let’s start reading.
Tips on how to deal with a child who lies
Lying is something that starts as a harmless entity, but the addiction to get out of things without any consequences can be quite thrilling.
Now young children don’t understand the difference between speaking honestly and lying, but it doesn’t take much time for them to catch up to that difference.
Let’s have a look at several tips that can be useful for parents dealing with a child who lies.
#1 Set honesty as one of the house rules
Family and household rules may have a lasting impact on children. Set honest behavior and truthfulness as part of these rules.
Once you stress the value of honest behavior and truthful communications, your child will work towards imbuing it in themselves. It may also be that your children understand the value of truth even when it’s difficult to tell.
You have to make it a point to tell your children about the consequences of lying and the damage it can do. If your children are aware of the effects of lying from a young age, they’ll be more cautious and careful.
Enlighten your children about the reasons as to why people lie and the damaging effects they can have on them. Children need to be considerate of others’ feelings.
You need to be clear as to why you expect honesty and truthfulness from them. Your children may pay more attention if they know that their parents expect something from them.
#2 Highlight the differences between the truth and lying
If you tell a four-year-old the difference between the truth and lying, they may not fully understand. But no matter the age, your child needs to know what’s right and what’s wrong.
Have an open discussion with them about being dishonest and make them understand that people may not believe them in the future if they keep on lying. Use simple examples to help them gauge the differences.
For instance, you can tell them that the color of the sky is yellow. To a young child who’s just had a lesson on lying, this statement may appear dishonest.
Make it clear that when choosing to be false in front of people, the child is partaking in a bad habit that may have lasting consequences. You also have to enlighten your children about the difference between telling the truth and brutal honesty.
Kids have to understand that it isn’t necessary to announce someone’s hair is rough, or someone has pimples on their face just because that’s honest. There needs to be a balance. Creating a balance between honesty and compassion is a social skill that you can start imbuing in your child from a young age.
Additionally, you can also tell your child about what will happen if they’re caught lying. Being straightforward, in this case, maybe the best choice.
It will also help you and your child to understand what will happen if such a situation arises where the child needs to be disciplined.
#3 Acknowledge honest behavior
It may be that your child wants to own up to something they may have been false about. It could be a great opportunity to teach them a life lesson.
When your child owns up to their mistake, appreciate the gesture and praise them for being brave enough to acknowledge their mistake. It may go a long way in building a trusting relationship with your child.
It could also send a message that you won’t react in a harsh way when your child owns up to something. Such appreciation may allow your child to be more open with you.
For instance, your child broke your favorite vase and blamed it on the dog to avoid consequences. When your child decides to be honest with you, reward him with appreciation and warmth instead of being cold. Ask yourself why your child lied about breaking the vase. Could there be issues with your methods?
Comfort your child and show your appreciation towards them being open and honest with you. It may mean that your child was scared of confessing earlier, but the guilt made them be upfront with you.
Always make it a point to laud such behavior as it may lead your child to be more accepting of their mistakes in the future. You have to find such small opportunities where you can put in a lesson or two about honest behavior and truthfulness.
#4 Use creative methods
Many parents claim healthy habits to be the cornerstone of good-natured children. They may even try to imbibe the right habits in their children to promote healthy behavior.
Healthy habits cover a vast range of versatile features. To get more creative, you may even try to cover honesty and dishonesty through these habits.
For instance, you can give them the task of painting something they think is the definition of a lie. It may allow them to explore their interest in painting and understand their version of a lie.
Another creative way could be to create new games wherein your kids have to catch the liar and serve them a punishment. It could be an innovative way to teach your kids the value of honesty.
Some parents may also take advantage of literature and words. You could teach your children the meaning of dishonesty through books and stories.
A lot of parents swear by Children Learning Reading. It exhibits a plethora of reading content for young kids to enhance their reading skills.
The program consists of short stories and exercises to divert your child towards a good learning habit. The phonetic method of teaching is a tested and tried program over a community of 78,000 parents.
All these creative ways have the potential to push your child in the right direction and away from the chaos of lying. All you have to do is come up with innovative ways to keep your young ones busy and on track.
#5 Become a role model
Many child psychologists claim that children pick up attributes by watching other people. You don’t have to worry about whether your children are listening to you; you have to worry about whether they’re always watching you.
Keep a check on something you tell your child and whether or not your actions align with that statement. Your child may notice if there’s any sort of inaccuracy.
For instance, if you tell your child that you’ll be back in five minutes, how accurate is that? Your child may choose to believe the literal meaning of five minutes and consider it a lie if you’re late.
Always ensure that your words and your actions are in alignment. Your child may pick up these small inconsistencies and imbibe them in their behavior. Try to be consistent with your statements and accurate in your language.
For instance, if your daughter asks you to paint with her on the weekend and you’re not sure about your availability, then say something like, “Help me remember that we’re planning such an activity,” rather than committing to it and then not following through.
Understand that your child will learn through imitation and tread those waters carefully. Consider your speech to be a privilege and use it mindfully.
#6 Differentiate between the person and the behavior
If you catch your child lying, the better approach is to deal with the lying rather than labeling them a liar. Calling them a liar may make your child question their qualities.
Labeling your child a liar can box them in and may also lead to shame. Shame may cause your child to experience negative feelings.
If you name the behavior cooly and calmly, without accusing the child or adding judgment, it may lead your child to express accountability and awareness. It may also result in the likelihood of change.
You’re allowed to express disappointment in your child’s behavior but also pair it with reassurance and warmth. Appreciate their ability to be honest, and speak up.
Your reassurance may motivate your child to improve their behavior and build their identity as someone trustworthy. If your child is feeling guilty, that’s a positive. It means that they’re ready to accept their mistake and make the necessary changes.
Always know that regret is a crucial part of growing up and teaches strong lessons. On the other hand, shame may instill negative feelings in your child and make them feel small and insignificant.
Shame may also negatively impact your child’s persona and put a halt on their growth into an open and honest person. Try to avoid this reversal in your child’s positive growth.
Positive feedback and small gestures of appreciation can go a long way in building a healthy aura around your child. They may feel more accepted, and the reassurance could play a huge role in this.
#7 Pay attention to your child’s ability to express
It may so happen that sometimes your child is trying to be honest but can’t come up with the ways to do so. Ask yourself, why is this happening? A child’s ability to be honest with others is deeply connected with their level of self-awareness.
For instance, your son might say “yes” to a question you ask, and you may not understand the reality behind that answer. You have to keep a check on the ability of your child to express his feelings.
The reality behind that “yes” isn’t that your child is trying to fool you. It may be that he’s avoiding the conversation as he’s not sure about himself or his actions.
That cynical answer is all your child can muster up at that moment. Your job is to look closely at his ability to speak up his innermost views.
You paying attention and asking your child “what’s wrong” can help him open up to you. It may even be the support that he’s looking for.
A way to pay attention to the ways your child speaks his truth may be reading his facial expressions, gestures, body movements, or overall energy. A slight change in any of these could be an indication of guilt or something that’s bothering him.
Allow your child to bond and communicate with you through his altering feelings. If your child shares an openness with you, it can be easy for him to speak his truth.
Understand what’s been bothering your child. Did something happen with his best friend, or did the teacher call him out at school?
Young children may find it difficult to express if something is bothering them because they’re not able to understand it. Warmth and nurturing from their parents may enhance their ability to express themselves.
Dear parents, you’re all set. How you imbibe morals and ethics in your child from a young age greatly determines their ability to be dishonest. Whether you opt for strict rules or more creative methods, the end goal of every parent is to keep their children on the right track.
The honest track!
You can make a huge difference for the positive upbringing of your child by involving them in honest conversations, activities, and instances that help keep their moral compass straight.
After all, no parent wants their child to shift to the wrong side of the tracks. Trust yourself, that you’re doing a good job, and your child will turn out to be the best and most truthful version of themselves.