Lying is something every child has done at one time or another. Whether it be saying they cleaned their room when they didn’t, or didn’t break something when you know with certainty they did, the telling of untruths is something every parent has had to deal with.
It can be incredibly frustrating for a parent who is trying to determine the truth of a situation. Additionally, it can be worrisome as some parents think this is a bad habit they’ll be unable to break. Luckily, there are simple strategies you can put into place to get your child to stop lying.
Live By Example
The best thing we can do for our children is to be a role model. This means that not only do we encourage the truth by telling the truth, but by also reacting well when the truth is told. If we show children that being honest is acceptable, they are more likely to tell the truth themselves.
Understand Why Your Child is Lying
Was your child lying to avoid getting in trouble? Was it because they were playing make believe? Was it exaggerating the truth? Not all lies are created equally, and should be handled differently. Helping your child distinguish fantasy from reality is different than helping your child understand that they are safe to tell the truth.
Make Consequences Clear
Setting clear boundaries is important especially if you plan on enforcing punishment. Make clear to the child why they should not lie, and what can happen if they do. Children need to accurately predict what will happen if they lie so that they can make the decision not to so as to avoid consequences.
Don’t Sweat It
Many parents begin to worry when their child start lying. They believe this is a problem that will be difficult to overcome. It’s important to remember that most children go through a phase when they don’t tell the truth, and it’s usually harmless behavior as long as the parents are mindful of it.