Most parents make it their goal to get kids to stop lying. It’s a good goal. But often the way parents approach it tends to pit parents and children against each other from the start because children are bound to lie as they grow up and parents are bound to catch them.
Over time, the struggle over lying can become a contentious hide-and-seek match. Kids get better and better at hiding their lies, while suspecting parents grow less trusting and work harder to catch them and punish them for their lies. Resentment on both sides grows and sometimes snowballs until kids and parents utterly despise each other.
So if your child lies to you, it may be that a different approach could help re-orient you both. This isn’t necessarily the only change needed, but we’ve seen this sort of approach be really helpful:
- Calmly get down on your child’s level. (If necessary, take time to cool off first.)
- Say, “I know that when people lie, it’s sometimes partly because they aren’t feeling loved by or safe with the person they lied to. A close, trusting relationship with you is very important to me.”
- Continue, “So your consequence for lying is that privileges with people outside the home are on hold until you and I plan some fun together when you’re ready.”
This approach addresses one of the root issues beneath lying: disconnection. Then, when you are on your fun connecting “date”:
- Talk about things you appreciate about your child.
- In a relaxed way, ask your child her opinion about different things and listen well.
- Affirm her for her honesty in answering the questions.
In taking this approach you will model caring, grace and faith in God’s principles:
…Overcome evil with good. ~Romans 12:21b
Sign up below to receive a weekly dose of encouragement straight to your inbox: