At some point in every child's life, they learn how to lie. Parent's then often find themselves wondering how to deal with the issue. Regular disciple techniques don't usually address the problem of lying, so new ways to discipline need to be implemented. It's important to make sure that the child understands that lying undermines communication and that honesty is incredibly important in relationships.
Here are 5 ways to get your child to stop lying.
Establish an Honesty Policy
Talk to your child about honesty and why it is important. Make sure that they understand the difference between the truth, a fib, a tall tale, or fantasy. Discuss what happens when people lie and why honesty is so important. Establish clear consequences for lying, so expectations are clear.
Figure out Why the Child Is Lying
Children lie for a reason. When they are younger, it's usually because they are trying to exhibit their independence or they just think something sounds better. Like they have a pet unicorn at home. It's not meant to cause harm, but children need to understand the difference between real and fantasy.
Children lie to get out of trouble or to see how much they can get away with. It is the kind of lie children particularly need to know will be checked for honesty and consequences assigned if things are not as they say.
Children also lie as a way to make themselves look better or fit in with a crowd. It is the type of lie that parents need to discuss with their children so that the child can find better ways to fit in socially and more productive ways to feel better about themselves.
Allow for Storytelling in a Creative Way
Some children lie as a way of story telling. Allow them to be.
Have them write and illustrate their story or fantasy. When done in the proper manner, it's a wonderful story, not a lie.
Teach by Example
There's a reason that saying, "do as I'm doing, not as I'm saying" is so powerful. Children are incredibly perceptive and there is no better way to teach about honesty than by modeling the behavior. Children are going to have a hard time understanding the importance of honesty in relationships if they see and hear their parents being dishonest. It's particularly confusing to teach or follow through with consequences involved with fibs if you are the one fibbing. Think about the message you may be sending to your child if they hear you telling little white lies, or fibs or even big lies and then ask them to not do the same.
Don't Try to Trap Your Child in a Lie
If you know your child lied, don't try to trap them in the lie. Be as straight forward as possible and go straight to the consequence.
Consequences for lying should be different based on the child and the age. Discuss with your child and make sure that they realize there should be an apology and restitution made.