As your child grows, they grow smarter with each passing day. They are also exposed to the world outside and pick up many new habits- a few good a few not so good. A few parents suffer the dilemma of what to do when their kids begin to lie to cover up their misdoings. How to handle a liar child?
Lying becomes a common habit to many growing kids. Sometimes, it might seem like no matter whatever you do, your child continues to lie. However, regular and frequent appraisal for telling the truth while reprimanding them mildly for lying can keep your child from telling lies with growing age. Whatever be the situation, don’t tag or label your child as a ‘liar’. This can harm his self-esteem.
What to do when your child lies?
If your child is telling frequent lies, don’t blame or punish him. You can curb this habit through proper discipline strategies. Some of these are listed ahead can help your child break the vicious circle of lying.
- Understand the Reason
Dr. William Sears- American pediatrician and author of several parenting books, clearly states that, there can be numerous different reasons for your child to lie. These include reasons like fear of getting a trouble, need of attention, fear of being rejected, or to indulge in fantasy and pretend play.
Try to find out the reason and help your child overcome the fear or underlying worry that makes him lie. Once you do it, it becomes easy to curb your child’s habit of lying. Remember, that you need to be patient with your child. If you get way too strict, chances are your child will suffer a mental break down or even get withdrawn.
- Create a Contract
Create a contract with your kids. This contract should include your child to pledge to be honest. The contract should also include predetermined consequences of lying. Talk to the kids about your expectations for honesty. Ask your kids to sign the contract and rend them about this whenever you find them in a situation of lying.
- Make them understand the Consequences
Tell your kids the consequences of telling lies. Make sure to be consistent in enforcing them as and when required. Any negligence or leniency can influence the child to continue telling lies.
- Deal uniquely with behavioral lying
If your child lies deliberately, deal separately with the lie and the behavior that led to it. Sometimes, it becomes important to change your child’s environment to avoid situations leading to lies.
- Consider the goal behind the child’s lie
Check if your child told a lie to avoid punishment. May be he was scared about the consequences of the mistake he made. He might be feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or scared. In such cases, you need to make your child understand that he need not feel guilty and lie. Reassure your child that he will always be loved and supported when he needs assistance and that he does not have to resort to lies to get out of an embarrassing situation.
- Give him Benefit of Doubt
Instead of accusing the child for something, even when you are sure about it, just tell them about your concerns, suspicions, and that you will be checking him for the same. This will help your child understand that you trust him and also have a watchful eye on him. He is sure to stay out of mischief and be more honest and forthcoming!
- Stress on the advantages of being honest
Instead of telling your child that lies is far from good. Try to emphasize on the goodness of being truthful. This is a far more effective way to prevent the habit of lying than punishing your child.
- Be a role model
Your child does what he sees. If you want him to grow up as an honest and truthful individual, make sure to set an example for him. Be the change you want to have in your child. Your child is always watching you even if he doesn’t always listen to you.
- Cool down before you do anything
Before taking any action, calm yourself. This will help you in better communication. A calm mind will be able to assess the situation and take the right steps. If you are stressed, the likelihood of either being harsh or making an irrational decision yourself, is higher. Ask him the reason for what he did. Remember that many children lie to avoid anger and not to avoid punishment.
- Stay Calm and remove emotions from it
An emotional reaction on your kid’s lie can create a feeling of disapproval or distrust. The child will not stop lying, but will try not to get caught for one. So, stay calm and avoid emotional reactions like “You hurt me”.
- Emphasize on building trust and closeness
Trust and closeness play important role in killing the habit of telling lies. Building strong relationships with kids that makes them feel loved unconditionally and realize that you are there to help and support can help end the lying habit.
As mentioned earlier, never tag or label your child as a liar for this can reinforce the behavior while making him believe that he is a liar with no reason to end this habit. Instead stay patient and use a combination of the above suggested strategies. Be your child’s advocate. Understand what is bothering him and patiently work with him to help him get out of his habit of lying. This will be rewarding to both you and him!