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How To Handle Lying

 

            Parents want their children to be truthful.  So, when children lie, most parents feel compelled to force them to tell the truth.   However, often times, the more parents pressure children to tell the truth, the more they encourage further lying.

            Why children lie.  Some children lie to avoid punishment.  Therefore, if the child admits the truth, make sure that your reaction fits the “crime”.  For example, if a child accidentally breaks a lamp and admits the truth, your only “discipline” might be to have him/her help clean it up or repair it.  The child is recognized for telling the truth and will be more likely to grow up to be truthful.  However, if the child admits the truth and still receives a punishment in this case, the child learns it would have been better to lie.  A child who grows up in a home where it’s safe to admit mistakes is more likely to grow to be an honest adult.

            Some lies are told in order to get attention.  Many times, children learn that the more fantastic the lie, the more attention they seem to get.  Therefore, it is important to praise a child for his/her honesty and explain that lying breaks trust.

            Make a decision.  Question the child about the situation once.  A parent must make a decision to accept what the child says, even though there are some doubts, or to treat what he/she said as a lie.  The important point is that the parent must make a decision, rather than attempting to pressure the child into telling the truth.  If there is a fair probability that the child is telling the truth, the parent should treat the child’s statement as the truth and drop the issue.

             Never call a child a liar.  If, after hearing the child’s explanation, the parent decides there is a very high probability the child is lying, the parent should decide how to treat the situation.   Above all, do not call the child a liar.  One way to encourage lying is to accuse someone of it.  The accused has a tendency to say,  “Well, they think that I am lying anyhow, so I may as well go ahead and do it.”  One appropriate way of treating lying is to take away some privilege or activity that the child enjoys for an established amount of time.

            Watch your own behavior.  If a child hears a parent constantly making up phone excuses for lateness or turning down social engagements, he’ll follow suit.  Be sure that you are a good role model by demonstrating honesty in your relationships.

 

 Our Mission:  Hanover County School Counselors provide all students educational services, in collaboration with parents, school and the community, that foster
                       academic, career and social/emotional growth toward lifelong success and effective, responsible citizenship for a diverse and changing world.

 Our Mission:  Hanover County School Counselors provide all students educational services, in collaboration with parents, school and the community, that foster
                       academic, career and social/emotional growth toward lifelong success and effective, responsible citizenship for a diverse and changing world.