For the average parent, hell any person, we declare we can’t stand a liar.
We hate people playing games with us & undermining our intelligence. It’s super insulting.
So, when our children lie to us we attempt to nip it in the bud IMMEDIATELY because “ain’t nothing that comes from me about to be a liar”. But what happens when they continuously lie? I mean, lie so bad that you can tell they did not even have the courtesy to think their lie through and try to make sense? Why are they lying and how can I make it stop?
Well here’s why I think your child(ren) may be lying and ways you can respond to them.
1. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH- all people come with a few flaws and your children are watching how you respond to their flaws and the flaws of others. How do you naturally respond to things you can see that they need to fix? Is your go to response to their shortcomings to yell, fuss, or guilt trip? What about when you have asked them something in the past, they were honest and yet you didn’t like their response? Were they punished for telling the truth? Were they yelled at for telling the truth?
2. You may be running a dictatorship- you make too many choices for them and don’t give them an opportunity to express their desires or opinions. It’s your way or the highway so they do what they want hoping you don’t find out and when you do, they lie to you because they know how upset you’ll be
3. Too many restrictions- you may be a helicopter parent and your child doesn’t feel independent enough. You may be suffocating them with all of your restrictions that make them feel like “a baby”.
4. Lack of respect- How well have you been keeping your word? Whether it’s saying you’re going to do something nice for them and don’t or giving a consequence/setting a boundary and you don’t hold to it, you give in because you don't want them to be mad or sad. Being mad or sad are healthy emotions that should be welcomed. They have to learn to express them properly.
5. Improper consequence- whenever you give them consequences for lying or disobedience it’s too extreme or it doesn’t connect to the crime. Some parents believe giving extreme punishments for behaviors will deter their child from repeating it, but it actually makes them become sneakier and further the lack of respect that keeps you on this cycle.
So what do I do, Peaches?
1. Be mindful of your tone and body language when you communicate with your children. Even when you’re upset.
2. Offer more choices when there are opportunities available. Example: bath time may be horrible. “Do you want to take a bath before or after dinner?” “Tonight or in the morning?” “Broccoli or green beans?” Of course these are modified for older children. Use these times to teach them negotiations skills.
3. Respect is not given automatically because we are parents. We must earn their respect, too. Say what you mean and do what you say. Keep your word with them.
4. Loosen the reigns a bit. If you are instilling skills in them, you can learn to trust them. Too many restrictions show that you harbor much fear where they don’t
5. When punishments are given, they should directly fit the crime and depending on their age, it shouldn’t be for extended amounts of time. Losing TV for a week because you didn't like their tone of voice isn't going to stop them from using a tone you deem disrespectful.
· Your child writes a mean letter/email/cyber bullying to a child at school-the punishment is writing an apology and finding a gift to give them. They must know that this behavior is not tolerated and if it happens again, they will lose access to technology device. The person they offended should know this too and have a direct line to you to let you know if it happens again.
· Your child is asked to wash dishes by 4:30 so you can begin cleaning the kitchen and they forget because they were watching TV. Without yelling, ask them to turn off the TV and remind them what they are supposed to be doing.
· When a child lies, remain calm. Let them know that you know the truth and you want to know why they did XYZ. Once they tell you the truth, thank them for being honest. Explain why they need to tell you the truth and if they choose to lie again there will be a consequence. They receive a consequence for what they lied about, not for lying. Lying is a symptom of disobedience, fear, anxiety, and forgetfulness---deal with the root.
Thanks for reading and sharing! Peaches