Lying in children is a common behavior that should be addressed earlier in life rather than later. It is a natural behavior on your child’s development track so do not worry too much if you catch your child lying for the first time. Kids lie for numerous reasons, whether they are trying to protect themselves and be noticed, or if they are trying to deal with uncomfortable feelings or just experimenting. When kids lie they aren’t usually trying to manipulate or take advantage, most of the time they are meeting underlying needs.
Parents can talk to their kids about lying and teach them that lying has negative results and can also hurt other people. It is a good idea for parents to be aware of lying in children, not afraid of it happening. Talk to your kids freely and openly about lying so they will always choose the honest path throughout their lifetime.
The Direct Approach
Be honest and direct with your children about lying. Tell them that it is wrong, bad manners and unacceptable behavior. Avoid using threats and getting angry as this may undermine their developing self-confidence.
Give them Consequences
While you don’t want your kids to fear you, let them know that if they are caught lying that there will be consequences. If they know that they will be grounded, won’t be able to go to their friend’s house or not be able to play video games for a week if they are caught lying, chances are they will be truthful.
Ask them Questions
Sit down with your kids and ask them questions such as, ‘why do you think people lie? How do you think people feel after lying? How do you think the person lied to feels when they find out? What will you do if you are tempted to lie?’ By talking about the act of lying, kids will be more aware of what they do and say. Once they understand the impact of a lie, they will stop and think before lying to someone.
Talk About the Importance of Honesty
If kids realize how important it is to be honest in your family, they may think twice before lying. Tell them that honesty is always the smart choice and it always makes a person feel better to admit something and get it off their chest. Tell them that it is safe within your family unit to be honest about things that occur.
Tell them that being honest is always the best way to handle things and that they do not have to be afraid to tell the truth. While there might be consequences, they will not be screamed at or become a disappointment in your eyes. Tell them that you love them unconditionally and that making mistakes is normal in life, but lying about them doesn’t help matters.