- Don’t give your daughter an opportunity to lie if you don’t have to. If you KNOW she did something, just be straightforward, instead of trapping her in a lie to “catch” her in the act. – This is so true! Have you ever noticed how many times we say things like “did you hit your sister?” or “who took candy from this dish?”, when we already know the answer. Instead of giving them an opportunity to lie, we can skip to the chase and deal with the other behavior first of all and save every one a lot of trouble and stress.
- My father also used an analogy of their trust in us (my sister & me) was like a bank savings account and every time we lied we made a withdrawal from that account. If we kept making withdrawals without making any deposits (telling the truth) then pretty soon we would be in the negative and it would take a long time & lots of deposits to be in the positive again. – We love this analogy. Breaking it down into a picture or story that kids can relate to and understand is a great way to teach them a concept that is otherwise a bit complex and hard to grasp. While this bank account idea might be a bit beyond a smaller child, you can brainstorm another object lesson that they might be able to understand instead.
- My mother always said “if you always tell the truth, we will back you up on anything, because we know you aren’t a liar. But if you lie to us, we can’t defend you, because we can’t trust you, and we aren’t sticking our necks out for you because we can’t be sure you’re telling the truth.”
- Put her “story telling” energy into story telling. Give her paper, let her write her fictitious world. Have her illustrate. Help her turn something negative into something positive.
- My mom works in a school and how she says she handles kids who are lying is to say something like: that’s a good story, you are so creative, now can you tell me what actually happened ( in a friendly way)? It lets the kids know that you know they are lying, but also gives them a way to tell the truth without fear of being in trouble.
For a more in depth look at lying in kids you can try one of these amazing resources.
Here are some books about kids and lying:
It can be hard to discuss big concepts like lying with little kids. Sometimes they simply won’t sit still long enough to discuss it, and truly don’t even know what the word “lying” means. We’ve found that children’s books are a great way to introduce them to the topic and it’s definition, so that when you call them out for lying to you, they know what you are talking about!
- Children’s Book: The Berenstain Bears and the Truth
- Parent Resource: Why Kids Lie – How Parents Can Encourage Thoughtfulness by Paul Ekman
- Just for Fun: Download this true/false scanner on your phone! <—psst…you decide if it shows up true or false!
Have your kids hit a lying stage yet? How have you handled it? We hope these resources and ideas for helping kids to stop lying will help your family grow stronger together in a truthful way!