Almost every parent wants their child to be honest, at least with them. Lying seems to be quite worrisome. There are some lies that lead to trivial incidents that you can just laugh off. However, there are times when you feel your kid should not have lied. You would certainly want to raise your child in such a way so that he values honesty. As honesty develops upon trust, it is the basis of a relationship. And upon that rests the simple things like communication, love, and responsibility. When a child lies to his parents, he breaks the trust that leads the relationship to suffer. Usually, parents fail to understand why kids lie and how to deal with it. Let us discuss the age by age guide to lying and ways to get your child to stop lying.
Try to Decipher the Reason underneath the Lie
Firstly, you need to learn your kid’s language, try to listen and understand deeper to find out what is he saying when he lies. It is not necessary that they do things with an adult’s logic or sense. As a parent we need to decipher their logic or sense. We need to build a communication with them so that we can hear the message hidden in the lie.
Consider the Developmental Age of your Child
People grow through ages and different stages irrespective of children or adults. As e grow through the developmental stages, our understanding, perception, and appreciation of things develop. There are many ways children lies. It is very important to consider the developmental journey of our kids. For instance, when a 4-year old kid vehemently insists that he did see Superman flying from one building to other, he is trying to explore the line between imaginary and real. A lying 9-year old is denying going through a fashion magazine when she was supposed to finish her workbook. This means she is quite aware of the difference between the reality and what she is communicating. Parents need to give different responses for different development stages. They need to go for an age appropriate punishment for lying.
Find out the Ways your Child Expresses Himself
Watch out how your kid is responding to your questions. He may find it difficult to express his feelings or he may feel too confusing to put his feelings into words. Also, you need to understand his facial expressions, body postures, gestures, music, energy etc. Analyzing these things can help you in understanding why kids lie.
Give your Child the Quality Time and Try to Make Connections
Trust and connection are the ground on which your child’s honesty grows. A well-connected child would speak her heart out to the parents. She would not be able to hold herself until she tells you the truth. So, take time and make space to listen to your child. Spending time with your child and making connections is extremely important and should not be compromised in any case. Tell your child that whatever he does, you will never stop loving him.
Let your Child Learn from you
You may feel that your child is not listening to you but they are certainly watching you. A child essentially learns through imitation. So, make sure there is an alignment between what you say and what you do. You need to be consistent with your integrity and use your speech mindfully at least when you feel that your child is watching you. If you are not sure about making a promise, try something like— you will do your best or please remind me of this plan etc.
Teach your Child about Freedom and Responsibility
As your child reaches a 6-7 year mark, teach him that freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. Let your child know when they are misusing their freedom of speech, for example hurting others with their words. If you find them lying or breaking someone’s trust, discuss with them how they can earn it back.
Let your Children Value the Truth-telling
Passing on honesty and good values is one of the important keys of parenting. Speak openly and teach your child about the trust factor and how it can help him in future. Tell him that words and agreements are something that everyone should honor. Teach your child the true goodness of truth and explain the unburdening effect of telling the truth. You should also apologize for the times when you have been out of integrity.
Do not Keep Parental Limits that are too Strict
In many cases, kids lie to escape the discipline or anger. If you behave too strictly with your child when he admits doing something wrong, he may feel he is better off lying. Also, if you do not behave in a strict manner, he will continue doing so. Therefore, you need to find a balance between being liberal and punitive. However, in any case, you need to allow your kid to gain a bit of freedom and independence. This is most important when you are thoughtfully dealing with teenage lying. If you start monitoring every activity of your child, he/she may feel trapped.
Dealing with a lying child is no cakewalk. The best way to deal with a lying child is to find out why kids lie. Parents have to consider the developmental stage of their child to prepare the responses or punishments. You have to remember that kids do not lie arbitrarily. If they are lying, then there has to be a valid reason, no matter how weird the reason is. You need to look it from the child’s perspective. Apart from this, we have mentioned earlier kids learn by imitating their parents. If you have good family members or neighbors, you can set them as a role model for your child. This will certainly help your child to face challenging situations and guide them through all the ups and downs.