Lie no more - How to stop your child from lying

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“My child would never ever lie to me” is one of the most commonly remarked statements by parents who are still caught in parenting euphoria. If you are also a parent, who would shudder at the very idea of your little angel uttering a lie, then welcome to reality. Lying comes as naturally to children as playing or sleeping. At a very young age most children develop an uncanny ability to hide the truth and even get away with it. As a parent it is very difficult for you to accept the fact that your child may be lying to you, but remember that it is important to deal with this calmly and not turn into a virtual drama queen raving and screaming. It is imperative that you get to the root cause of why he is lying, if you want to help him get over this potentially dangerous habit. Here are a few suggestions.

Get to the bottom of the issue: Try to find out what compels your child to lie. Is it the fear of punishments? Does he doubt the fact that you cannot accept the wrong things that he has done; does he fear your anger? Is it simply because he wants your attention and is making up stories to focus your attention on him? For instance your child may tell you that he is not feeling well, just so that you will make him the centre of your attention at least till he is caught. So take a critical look at yourself as a parent and find out if any of your unintentional behaviour is being translated into a pack of lies by your child.

It’s never too early: From a very early age teach your child the importance of trust and how being dishonest can ruin relationships and cause fights between people. Ensure that you provide your child an environment at home that enables him to express his thoughts without fear. Accept your mistake when you make it. This will make your child realize that it is ok to make mistakes, what is important is that he takes responsibility for the mistake and corrects it.

Get him to open up: In order to help your child stop lying, it is imperative that you understand what compels him to lie. Sit down with him and talk to him kindly. Assure him that it is normal for kids of his age to lie and it is just a bad habit like biting nails, also let him understand that like any bad habit if he doesn’t stop doing it will become difficult for him in the long run. Tell him that you are there to help him and together as a team you can get rid of this bad habit.

Let your actions speak louder than your words: Always keep in mind that you influence your child in a much deeper way than you think. For instance, don’t think that your fake cough and sniffles to get out of work on a particular day, didn’t go unnoticed. You have unknowingly just assured your child that it is perfectly ok you lie, just ensure that you don’t get caught. So try to be role model for your child as much as possible.

Is he actually lying?: Lying is a very broad term and can include any thing which is not exactly true in the eyes of the person judging it. So if your three year old child tells you that he just saw a red flying pony in the yard don’t immediately hit the panic button and immediately decide that your child is a liar. Young children often explore the world of make believe at this age and there is no harm playing along to a certain extent. But the trick is to make your child understand that both of you are playing. In real life there is no pony that can fly. Your parent antennas should start beeping if your child insists that the red pony that can fly broke the baby’s toy. This means that he is using his fantasies to justify his bad behaviour.

It is always heart breaking for any parent to realize that their child has been lying. But try as much as possible not to yell and create a scene and never label your child as liar. This will only compel them to cover his tracks better next time. Instead let your child know that lying is just not acceptable and assure him that you are in this together.