Saturday, 20 August 2016

What Should You Do When You Suspect Your Child is Lying?


Part 2

Everyone lies sometimes. From little ones who tell elaborate fantasies—and insist that they’re true—to teenagers who lie to avoid getting into trouble to adults who tell white lies to save face or get out of social obligations, lying is human nature. In fact, some experts saying that the ability to lie is a development milestone that can occur as early as 2 or 3 years old.
It doesn’t feel like that, though, when you first suspect that your child is lying to you.
It feels like a betrayal and a slap in the face. The key is to make your little one understand that lying, especially to your parents, is not appropriate and it can have negative consequences. However, the way you go about confirming that your child has lied and how you dole out those consequences can make a big difference in your parent-child relationship.

The Benefit of the Doubt

When you just suspect a lie but cannot confirm it, give your child the benefit of the doubt. If you automatically assume the child is lying when she’s not, this, too, can damage your relationship. She might lose faith that you believe her, and then feel like it doesn’t matter whether or not she lies. Accusing her erroneously can have long-lasting repercussions.

Confirm the Lie

Avoid being too accusatory when trying to get to the truth. If your child refuses to fess up, don’t continue to press—it’s unlikely he’ll come clean if he’s worried he’s digger a deeper hole.
What you can do, however, is take a deep breath and tell your child that you want to understand what happened, but some things he’s saying don’t make sense. Ask him to think about it a little bit more and say you’ll talk again later. He might reconsider the lie.
However, if you’re 100 percent sure that your child is lying, don’t try to set them up for a lie.
Simply tell the child that you know what happened and you’re disappointed that they didn’t choose to tell the truth. Then, move on. If your child sees that you’re more disappointed about the lie than the act that caused the lie, he might choose to tell the truth next time. Don’t harp on the lie.

Determine the Consequences

Try to get to the bottom of why your child lied to you. Was it a purposeful attempt to mislead you? Was he afraid that you would be angry? Did he want to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? A child might make up a white lie—particularly if he’s seen you do it on occasion—and not fully realize that you would be angry with that.
Research shows harsh discipline turns kids into good liars, so it’s important to avoid consequences that are too severe. Corporal punishment, for example, causes kids to work harder to cover up their misbehavior, and increases the chances a child will lie. Consider more effective consequences, like taking away a privilege for 24 hours.

Reward Honesty

One of the top ways to ensure your child tells the truth in the future is to praise her when she fesses up.
Tell her that you’re so happy that she trusted you enough to tell the truth. Of course, this doesn’t mean that an action that could have led to a lie doesn’t have ramifications—your child should still be responsible for apologies, clean-up and any other responsibility she needs to take for her actions.
In the end, the goal is to foster a relationship of trust between parent and child. Keep in mind that this goes both ways, so you shouldn’t feel free to lie to your child, nor to other family members. With honesty from both sides, a lie-free relationship can flourish.

10 Steps to Help a Child Stop Lying and Tell the Truth

All kids lie sometimes. But usually, a little dishonesty shouldn’t be cause for alarm.
Lying can become a bad habit however, when kids see it's an effective way to get out of trouble. It's important to address lying in a straightforward manner.
Here are 10 strategies that promote honesty and discourage lying:

1. Establish a Household Rule about Telling the Truth

Create a clear household rule that stresses the importance of telling the truth.
This will ensure that your children understand your expectations and values about honesty.

2. Role Model Honesty

Role model the behaviour you want to see from your child--that means telling the truth all the time. Kids can’t distinguish “little white lies” from other lies. So don’t let your child overhear you tell your friend, “I would love to help but I have a headache,” if you’re feeling fine. Your child will imitate what he watches you do.

3. Talk about Telling the Truth Versus Lying

No matter how old your child is, it’s important to talk about honesty versus lying. With young children, it can be helpful to say things like, "If I said the sky were purple, would that be the truth or a lie?" Talk about the potential consequences of being dishonest.
It's equally important to talk about telling the truth versus being brutally honest. Kids need to learn that they don’t necessarily need to announce, “That’s an ugly shirt,” just because it’s honest.
Balancing honesty with compassion is a sophisticated social skill that you should start teaching early.

4. Distinguish the Reason for the Lie

There are three main reasons kids lie; fantasy, bragging, or to prevent negative consequences. When you distinguish the likely reason for the lie, it can help you develop a plan to respond to it.
Preschoolers often tell fantasy lies. If your child says, “I flew to Disney World this morning,” ask, “Is that something that’s really true? Or something you wish was true?” This can help kids understand the difference between reality and make believe.
If a child lies because he’s bragging, it may be that he has low self-esteem or wants to gain attention. He may benefit from learning new social skills and from engaging in positive activities to boost his self-esteem.
All kids lie to get out of trouble sometimes. It’s important that their lies aren’t successful. Instead, make it clear to kids that you will be double-checking the facts.

5. Give One Warning

It can be helpful to give kids one warning when you are fairly confident you caught them in a lie. For example, say, “I’ll give you one more chance to tell me what happened. If I catch you lying, you will receive an extra consequence.”

6. Give an Extra Consequence

Give your child an extra consequence when you catch him lying. For example, instead of just taking away his electronics for the day, give him extra chores to do as well.
Take away privileges or use restitution as a consequence for lying.

7. Discuss Natural Consequences

Talk to your child about the natural consequences of lying. Explain that as a result of his lying, there will likely be times that you won’t be able to believe him, even when he’s telling the truth.

8. Provide Positive Reinforcement for Honesty

Catch your child telling the truth and provide positive reinforcement. Praise him by saying, “I know that must have been hard to tell me that you broke that dish, but I’m so glad that you chose to be honest about it.”

9. Help Your Child Re-Establish Trust

If your child has a bad habit of lying, develop a plan to help him re-establish trust. Consider establishing a behaviour contract that will help you know when he’s ready for more privileges based on his willingness to be honest.

10. Seek Professional Help

There are times when lying can be a big problem for children. If your child’s lying seems to be pathological, or it causes problems for your child at school or with peers, seek professional help to address his lying.
Happy Parenting!!!
Forbes. Dectecting Lies. Accessed April 24, 2013.
Chatelaine. How to Tell if Someone is Lying. Accessed April 24, 2013.
Science Daily. How to Tell When Someone's Lying: Psychologist Helps Law Enforcement Agencies Tell Truth from Deception. Accessed April 24, 2013.