Do You Care for a Child That Lies?

How To Get Nothing But the Truth

From The Answer is NO by Cynthia Whitham

Lying starts simply enough. Children learn at an early age don’t easily differentiate fantasy from reality. Their truth and their wishes are all entangled. It is common for a little child to describe something she yearns for as something she already has, or something she wishes to do as something she has already done.

Later on, children use lying to keep from getting into trouble. They hope, by saying “I didn’t do it,” to be saved from punishment. they hope so much, they sometimes begin to believe in their own innocence.

Lying is not only a bad strategy (the truth is usually found out), but it is a very unacceptable behavior in most life settings.

How To Get Nothing But the Truth:

1. Model taking responsibility. Set an example of someone who is not afraid to tell the truth and face the consequences.

2. Model being honest.

3. Don’t lie to children. If they ask you something which you cannot tell the truth about, say something like, “That’s something I need to keep private.”

4. Re-frame a pre-schooler’s fantasies to realities: “You don’t have a horse, but you sure would like to have a horse, wouldn’t you?” you can further help by teaching the difference between ‘prentend’ and ‘real.’

5. Use fables and fairy tales to impress upon our child the importance of the truth. Both Pinnochio and The Boy Who Cried Wolf present clear consequences for lying.

6. Reward the truth. If a child comes forward and tells the truth about something bad that happened (he broke something, lost something, got in trouble at school), take the opportunity to praise him.

7. Since it is possible a child might lie to get attention, don’t take the good stuff for granted. Show interest in the little things and praise the day-to-day successes.

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