Sooner or later, your children may lie to you. It could be about something relatively insignificant, or it may be a major deal. Some kids grow out of the habit while others become habitual liars.
Some kids lie to get attention while others do it to stay on their parents’ good side. No matter what the reason is in your household, it is vital to identify children who lie early on. By tackling the issue head-on and staging a lying intervention, you can ensure your child grows up to be a more honest adult. Read more to find out how to deal with a child who lies.
1. Know What You’ll Say
If you’re in a relationship, tackle this problem as a team. You and your spouse should talk privately before sitting down with your child to determine how you are going to handle this. If you’re a single parent, use a journal to gather your thoughts or speak to a fellow parent you trust.
The best course of action depends on the types of lies your child tells. For example, some kids say they are going to school when they are actually ditching. It’s a serious problem that parents need to rectify – immediately. However, your child may also lie to get attention. If you recently had another kid, your child may lie for attention. That requires a different conversation.
Talking with your spouse or support system ahead of time will also allow you to be neutral during the conversation with your child. You want to be as unemotional as possible. Agree on what the punishment is going to be in advance. You do not want to look unprepared in front of your kid.
2. Discuss What Is Obvious
You need to be as specific as you can. If your child lied about where he or she was the night before, then you may want to say, “It is obvious you were not at your friend’s house like you said.” After you have stated the obvious, you need to go into what the consequences will be. Remember, these need to be consequences you can actually deliver on. If you say you will take away your teen’s phone and do not actually do it, then your child will feel emboldened to continue the behavior.
3. Do Not Lecture
Lecturing may seem like an effective method to deal with lying children. The truth of the matter is that kids tune lectures out. They have heard it all before, and they may not take you seriously. When kids do not listen, they do not learn better behavior.
The best way to avoid a lecture is to keep your message simple. Focus on the one lie the child told that upset you the most. There may be other problems you are having with your child during this time, but for now, you want to stick with this one behavior. Social worker Janet Lehman MSW wrote in Empowering Parents: “Be specific about what you saw and what the problems are. Keep it very focused and simple for your child; concentrate on the behavior. “
4. Send Your Child To Their Room
You may learn your child lied when he or she is right there beside you. You do not want to lash out in anger at
Lehman says that this time is essential to plan what you’re going to say, and “decide in advance what the consequences will be.”
5. Give Your Child a Chance To Talk
You want to get to the bottom of why your child felt the need to lie, and a conversation can do that. There may be something going on in his or her life you are unaware of. Perhaps he or she is going through a breakup. There could be other problems at school. In the end, you want to make it clear you care. Your child may not be ready to talk to you about some problems, and that is all right. You just want to leave the door open for when your child is ready to talk.
It hurts to learn your child lied to you — and it’s hard to know instinctively how to deal with a child who lies. It is possible to address this behavior, but you need to go about it the right way. With the right words and actions, you can build a relationship with your children that has a foundation of trust and understanding.