Featured in School-aged


Lying is a normal part of your child’s development. That’s not to say it isn’t wrong, but it is typical behavior of school-aged children. As a parent, you might feel hurt, angry, frustrated or betrayed when you catch your child lying to you. There are many reasons why a child might lie. Some reasons include: to get attention, to establish their identity, to differentiate themselves from their parents, to help from hurting someone else’s feelings or to avoid getting into trouble.

Methods of Discipline

It can be very easy to lose your cool when you find out your child is lying to you. But, as with most parenting issues, it is best to keep a level head. Lying should not be ignored and there are some things that can be done.

1. Find out why your child lied. It is important to listen to your child’s side of the story. Before dishing out the consequences for lying, let your child explain why he or she was lying; then be sure to take the reason into consideration when thinking up the consequences.

2. Try your best not to lecture. Lecturing to your child will not be helpful when dealing with lying. Your child will most likely just tune you out as they have heard it over and over again from you. That will not change your child’s behavior. Instead, identify what you have seen and the issue you are concerned about.

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3. Create consequences for lying that your child can expect. Your child will soon learn that when he or she chooses to lie, he or she also chooses the consequences that lying brings. It needs to be spelled out for your child – he or she needs to be able to 100% predict what consequences he or she will face when lying.

4. Be sure to enforce the the consequences. Parents may think that they are doling out the punishment but in fact, they might not be. For instance, if your child’s punishment for lying is that he or she has phone privileges taken away, then the phone must be taken away. This might even involve hiding the phone.

5. Do not use the label “a liar”. By using the label for your child, you run the risk of your child living up to the label. By not labeling him or her a liar, you aren’t giving them a push towards a mode of behavior that could last for a long time.

Helping Your Child Cope

As a parent, there are things that you can do to help your child to stop lying to you. One easy thing is to not ask questions that are set-up and invite lying. Such questions are ones in which you already know the answer. For example, don’t ask son if he cleaned his room when you know he didn’t. Instead say to him, “I can see you did not clean your room. When do you plan on cleaning it?”. Also, don’t place blame on your child and instead, focus on solutions to problems. Instead of saying “Did you do your chores?”, try saying “What are you choosing to give up doing so you can do your chores?”.

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Parents need to model good behavior and the same goes with lying. You can let your child know that you understand that sometimes it is easier to lie when in situations like when you feel trapped, threatened or scared but that even is these situations, you still shouldn’t lie.

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