How to Deal With Kids Who Won’t Tell the Truth

Updated on July 26, 2017

5 Tips to Help Parents Deal With Lying Children

Just yesterday, I came upstairs from the garage to find a huge puddle of water surrounding the kitchen table. It was obvious that one of the children had spilled water while they were eating, so I went to go question them to find out which one of them had done it. As usual, all four of them said that it wasn’t them that did it, so absolutely no one could have spilled that water. I told them that they had 10 minutes to figure it out or else they were all going to go on a short time out until they told the truth. The second to oldest jumped up to clean the mess, although I doubt that he was the one responsible, and the problem was solved.

It can be difficult to get your kids to be honest about things that they have done wrong, even when they are an only child and you know they were responsible for the mess or accident. If you’re having problems dealing with a child who is lying, take a look at some of the tips below to help you discipline that behavior and prevent it from happening again.

1. Be Gentle

The types of lies that your children may tell can range from small, hilarious lies to big lies about things such as not doing their homework or breaking stuff in the house. The latter is generally more difficult to deal with and it can be easy to raise your voice in response to their behavior. However, this should be avoided. If your child feels scared of you because you are angry about what they did, they will continue to lie to avoid that response and the cycle will continue. Keep your voice calm and let them know that accidents happen and that it is not okay to lie. If they feel safe about coming to you about things they have done, then there will be no need for them to lie.

2. Celebrate Honesty

Honesty shouldn’t be taken for granted, especially if your child has been lying frequently. Celebrate the moments when they are coming to you and telling the truth. Let them know that they have done a good job and give them a smile and a hug. Show them that honesty truly is the best policy. Once they see that they are being rewarded with love and happiness when they are telling you the truth, they will be less likely to find a reason to lie when they are in trouble.

3. Don’t Allow Lying From Other Family Members

Lying can be a learned behavior if children see it happening around the house or in other social situations. If you or your partner or any other member of your household is usually being dishonest with other people, children will pick up on this behavior and will start using it. You can prevent this from happening by showing your child that everyone in the house is an honest person. Keep yourself in check and choose to tell the truth about everything that is happening to everyone around you. If your child is currently lying, it will set a good example. If you child hasn’t lied yet, it will show them that the behavior isn’t something that occurs in your household.

4. Give Them Appropriate Consequences

If you don’t give your child consequences for lying then they will continue to think that lying is okay because they are never punished for it. Give them appropriate consequences for their actions and they will eventually come to the conclusion that it is not worth their time to lie. For example, let’s say that your child is 5-years-old and has recently spilled a big cup of juice on the carpet. Instead of telling you that they did it, they gave you a long story about how their imaginary friend is responsible for the mess. Give them a consequence such as a short time out and then make them clean up their mess. They’ll eventually realize that instead of lying, they can simply tell the truth and spend their time playing rather than wasting time on a time out.

5. Don’t Put Your Child Down

Yelling at your child and telling them that they are a liar and that they will never get anywhere if they keep doing it will only make their behavior worse. Doing this will make them feel as though they are a problem and that they actually aren’t loved or cared about. Focus your discipline more on the behavior, not the child, and you will be able to avoid this kind of problem.

Lying can become a problem but only if you allow it to. Use the tips above to help you deal with this problem quickly and to avoid it in the future.

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