Most people will tell a lie at one time or another. Even children will stretch the truth from time to time. Normally, this shouldn’t be seen as a cause for concern. Yet, it can become a persistent, negative behavior when children view it as a means of saving themselves. Children don’t like to “get in trouble.” When your kid tells a lie, it should immediately be dealt with in a direct manner. This type of behavior needs to be discouraged from the very beginning so that it does not continue. Here are ten strategies to use to stop a child from lying;
10 Set An Example
The parent is the child’s first teacher. One of the best ways for a child to learn is for the parent to set the example. Never lie in the presence of a child. Whatever reason you may feel the need to be dishonest, children imitate what they see. Unable to differentiate between a little white lie and another lie, it's normal for a child to feel that if mommy or daddy do it, it can't be wrong. Being a role model means that you have to be aware of your own negative behaviors so they are not mimicked by children.
9 Put Rules in Place
Rules are essential to child-rearing. Set rules in place that enforce how important it is to tell the truth. Children need to comprehend that even when it isn’t easy, telling the truth is valuable. Make sure that they understand the trust and respect that is associated with honesty. This is a rule that should be abided by everyone in the home. Keeping in line with setting the example, parents should be sure to follow the rules too, especially in the presence of children. This also imparts the lesson that following the rules is important in life as well, even when it isn’t the easiest thing.
8 Make Sure They Know The Difference
Age doesn’t play a part in knowing the difference between lying and honesty. Different tactics can be used when it comes to explaining this to younger children. Using clear questions can help. For example, you can ask, “If I told you this strawberry was yellow, would it be true?” This is a good way to gauge how much the child understands the concept. It's also important to discuss the possible outcomes of not telling the truth. Make it clear such behavior will not be tolerated, nor will it be rewarded. Parents should also explain brutal honesty to little ones.
7 Discover The Why
The main reasons children lie are: to pretend, to brag or to avoid getting in trouble. Knowing the reason help parents find an effective way to respond. Younger children spend a lot of time fantasizing. If a child says that they went to Mars, it's perfectly alright to ask if it’s true or something that they would like to be? Help them distinguish the difference between pretend and real-life. Making things up as a means of bragging is often for attention. Parents should find the root of the problem. All children will lie to stay out of trouble at some time. It's important that they know they will not get away with it.
6 Only Once
When a parent is absolutely certain that a child is not being honest, there should only be one chance given to come clean. Explain to them that once the opportunity is gone, there won’t be another chance. Make it apparent that in the event it is proven that they are being dishonest, there will be more consequences than there would’ve been had they simply told the truth when they were asked the first time. Do not give the child the chance to repeatedly lie. Parents don’t enjoy disciplining their children but it is essential that negative behaviors are dealt with in a timely manner.
5 Stick To It
Sticking to their word is a parent’s best ally! If you tell your child that there will be extra consequences, don’t change your mind. When a parent goes back on their word, it tells the child that they don’t have to take it seriously. It gives the impression that their behavior is acceptable and they can get away with it. The consequences also have to be effective. It doesn’t make sense to tell a child that doesn’t go outside that they can’t go out. Take away something that will affect them so that they understand it’s serious business. Extra household duties never killed anyone.
4 Talk About Other Results of Dishonesty
Another effective strategy to get children to stop lying is by explaining the other results of dishonesty. Explain to them how it directly impacts the relationship that they have with other people, especially the parents. As children get older, they want more freedom and to be trusted. Let them know how destructive dishonesty is to trust. Let them know that it will be difficult to take their word in the future if they’ve lied before, even if they are being honest. Dishonest people have a hard time maintaining any type of relationship because people feel like they can’t be trusted. Try telling them the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
3 Praise Honesty
Understand that there will be times when telling the truth will be hard for a child. They fear their parents’ reaction or that they may disappoint them. No matter what the situation is, always take the time to acknowledge and praise the fact that the truth was told. Even if there has to be consequences for something, don’t let the fact that they followed the rules go unnoticed. This can make all the difference in the outcome of future situations. Parents are not always going to like what they hear. The fact that the child told the truth is what matters most.
2 Rebuilding Trust
When a child develops the horrible trend of lying, it's important that trust is rebuilt. There are many ways that parents can help with this. Using a reward system and privileges can help encourage children to do the right thing. Some parents even use contractual agreements as a way to encourage children to keep their word. These contracts can be quite effective because the child is involved and can help create the guidelines. This gives them a better chance of being successful. It is important that the child also understands that there is always a chance to try again and to be better.
1 Outside Assistance
If a child’s lying has gotten to a point where it is out of control and becoming a serious issue, it may be time to seek assistance. You’ll know if it gets that bad because compulsive lying impacts other areas of life and other people. It's essential to get help as soon as it is deemed necessary. Early intervention is the key to successful treatment. Negative behaviors that are allowed to persist will follow children into adulthood. This can cause a variety of issues later on in life. The goal is to bring children up with healthy behaviors that will enhance who they are as a person.