How To Get Your Child To Stop Lying

How To Get Your Child To Stop Lying. A 7 step process to get your child to stop lying and start trusting you for a better relationship.

Transcript:  Welcome parents! This is question and answer day! Today’s question is: HOW DO I GET MY CHILD TO STOP LYING?

Hello everyone! My name is Kristina and I am the founder of The Impactful Parent.  Every week I answer one of your questions LIVE on social media.  If you have a question for me for next week, you can direct message your question to me over social media or email me at theimpactfulparent@gmail.com

Let’s get to our question!  How do I get my child to stop lying?

Children lie for a variety of reasons. If they’re younger, it’s probably experimental, but here the impactful parent we focus on school-aged children so we’re going to make the assumption that your child knows already that lying is wrong.

The simplest answer I can give you for how to get your child not to lie is: MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE THEY DON’T HAVE TO.  If your child doesn’t have a reason to lie, then they are more likely NOT to lie.  This is much easier said than done!  So, how do we create an environment that makes our kids feel like they have no reason to lie?  Here is my 7 step process.

How To Get Your Child To Stop Lying

How To Get Your Child To Stop Lying

Step 1: Try and figure out why your child is lying.

  • Are they avoiding getting into trouble?
  • Do they want to do something that they’re not allowed to do?
  • Are they avoiding hurting someone’s feelings?
  • Are they trying to fit in?
  • Maybe somebody asked them to lie?
  • And sometimes, teenagers especially, lie to get the focus off themselves.  I see this a lot when the child doesn’t want to talk about themselves. For example, you may ask, “How are you?” and they will respond with, “I’m fine,” but really they are not.  OR you may ask, “Did you sleep last night?” and they will respond, yes, but that is a lie.  They didn’t sleep.

Trying to figure out why your child is lying is the step for having empathy and knowing how BEST to respond.

Step 2: Be realistic. You are not going to eliminate ALL lies.  Everyone lies from time to time. The goal here is to minimize lying as much as possible.

Step 3: Don’t freak out. I know this is difficult because when your child lies to you it also feels disrespectful.  However, when you freak out and you’re screaming at your child for lying, then your child will withdraw. Your child will also be less likely to confide in you later.  Instead, create a safe space for your child to come to you. This is how you help them understand that they don’t have to lie. You want to gain their trust.

Step 4: Empathize with them. Think back to step 1 when you were trying to understand WHY they lied. Then start a conversation with your child where your first words will come from empathy.  You will need to start the conversation something like this, “I know that ___reason for lying___ is difficult and lying is easy when you feel bad and want to _________. Is that what happened?”

  • “I know that fitting in is difficult and lying is easy when you feel left out and want to be a part of the group. Is that what happened?
  • “I know that it’s not fun getting in trouble and it’s easy lying when you are scared. Is that what happened?”

With empathy, you are trying to get to the bottom of why your child is lying and you’re not putting blame on them.

Step 5: Communicate unconditional love and acceptance, no matter what the situation. This is how you create understanding and trust with your child.  It is ONLY when your child trusts you that they will not feel the need to lie.   You may need to say something like, “I’m sad that you didn’t feel like I was a safe space, to tell the truth. What can I do to become more trustworthy in your eyes, so that you don’t have to lie to me again?”

How To Get Your Child To Stop Lying

How To Get Your Child To Stop Lying

Step 6: Now it is time to help your child problem-solve.  They lied for a reason.  Help them come to a place where they don’t have to lie and help them create a plan to solve their problems. Besides lying, what could they have done to have a better outcome?

Step 7: Role model. Children will ALWAYS do what you do more than what you say.  If you lie, (even little lies) you are telling your child that lying is ok and they will do the same.  You can’t lie around your kids because then you’re going to debunk everything!

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