When children lie, parents immediately blame them for doing so and also point out that they have lost trust in them for lying. This situation when it becomes two different sides between parents and children, can only get worse … It becomes the whiting that bites its tail: parents distrust and children continue to lie to avoid that mistrust or to avoid retaliation, punishment or disappointment.
Why do children lie
Children need the approval of their parents to feel good, and on many occasions they lie to avoid retaliation or that approval is not given. Lies are always the result of poor communication or fear of retaliation. Children usually lie about the same things, such as:
- Cover something up so you don’t get in trouble
- They don’t like your reaction when they tell you something important
- They tell things differently to make it seem more important
- They want to attract attention
- They want to get something in return
- They want to avoid punishment or reprimand
It is very important that when children are old enough to understand the difference between the truth and the lie (from the age of 4), and learn about honesty. You should be a good example of honesty and also instill this in the family. If your child ever lies, do not blame him or call him a liar, it is better to say phrases like: ‘When you don’t tell me the truth, I feel disappointed.
For children to stop lying, it is necessary for parents to do their part. A child does not lie because he is a liar, period, there are always reasons behind it and parents will have to change their attitude and their way of facing lies in order to make their children more honest.
React in a calm tone
Approach the situation in a calm tone and use the lie as an opportunity for teaching and learning. If your child has lied, you can say something like: ‘I’m pretty sure that’s not how it happened, do you really think it happened like this?’ or if it is a lie that hurts others: ‘How would you feel if someone told you that?’
No questions with double meaning better
Children and adolescents will not understand well the questions with double meaning, in addition to without realizing it they can have a certain negative connotation. To do this, instead of saying something like, ‘Have you studied for the exam yet?’ Say something like, ‘I see you haven’t studied enough.’
Don’t blame him or label him a liar
When children lie, they usually do it because they are afraid or worried about what may happen, so you can say something like: ‘What you say does not seem to me to be true. Sometimes you lie out of fear or worry, what is it that makes you feel bad? ‘
Praise the truth
When your child tells you the truth, do not punish him or get angry, even if you do not like that truth. If he tells you the truth, say things like: ‘Thanks for telling the truth, you have to be brave to be honest. Now, we must focus on solutions to this problem. ‘
Tell him that you love him every day
Your child may lie for fear of disappointing you. Perhaps he thinks that if he disappoints you, you will no longer love him the same as before. So let him know that your love for him is above anything else.
You must be the best example
Although it is obvious, it never hurts to remember it. If you want your children not to lie, you should not lie. It’s that easy. Be a good example of honesty.