It can be very surprising the first time you listen to your child tell a lie. This is something peculiar to majority of the kids, especially when they learnt from their parent every day.
Though we may want to conclude that telling lies is part of a child’s development at some point – but so is learning to tell the truth. It is when telling lies becomes a habit to your child that becomes problem. As a parent who is keen to ensuring that raising intelligent child is an important part of life, you must form the habit of preaching honesty to your child every day.
To make your plans achievable, it is important to find out why children tell lies. 70% of kids who tell lies have the same reasons backing their actions.
But why do children tell lies? Children lie when they want to:
- get attention
- cover up because they knew they might get into trouble with the truth
- see how you will react with their lies
- make their stories sound better
- get what they want
- make you love them
Children begin to tell lies from an early age of 4 – Sometimes before they attain this age. This age has proven to be when your child begins to realise they can tell lies without you knowing they kept the truth intact in their mind. Never let your child become an expert liar by growing to a stage where she is able to match her lies with her voice tone, facial expression and body language.
Children can conveniently lie without getting caught at age eight according to research. At this stage, she must have gotten better at lying because she now understands how other people think. As a determined parent, you should ensure helping your child understand the importance of telling the truth at all time.
How To Stop Kids From Lying
The best time to teach your child to learn telling the truth is when she is able to spot the difference between lies and truth. A child gets to know the difference earlier enough than you think, and it is ideal to help them develop this strength when you first noticed it. This can easily be achieved by stressing the need and importance of honesty. It is also very crucial to praise your child for honesty – even if you didn’t realise it in time. You can always make reference back to it; letting them know you are happy to see them grow this way.
In addition, children can be very emotional a times, so it is easy to take advantage of this part about them to help build a better person. Be blunt about letting your child knows how you feel when they tell you lies. Try saying something like, ‘I feel very hurt and disappointed when you don’t tell me the truth’
Meanwhile, below are more great ways for encouraging your child to be honest in telling the truth at all time:
Help your child avoid situations where he feels the needs to tell lies
Encourage him to always speak about things the way they are when he tries to make up stories. Don’t attack him instantly about being a liar, rather, make him understand that his words would be taking into record and be checked on some other time. This would discourage him to tell lies as you may find out the real truth later which may break your heart.
Don’t ask when you already know the truth
A good example is when you caught your child broke up the glass cup (accidentally or not). In situations like this, asking him questions like “who broke the glass cup?” would only give him the chance to lie about the situation. Never ask if he did it since you already know who did. You should instead say something like, “Sorry dear, you should be more careful next time not to hurt yourself… Let’s just clean this up”.
Don’t punish your child when he says the truth
Learn to praise your child whenever he tells you the truth, especially in situations where he has a upper hand to lie and get away with it. When your child admits to doing something wrong, let him know how happy you are for hearing the truth from him – ‘I like it when you’re being honest. I’m so happy you told me the truth’. When you say such things to your child, it passes the message that you won’t get upset if he tells you the truth next time. Remember, that children cover up because they knew they might get into trouble with the truth. So, when you give them the assurance that you’ll never get upset with their response, he would be more open to telling you the truth at all time.
Preach honesty to them through story books and children movies
You don’t have to become an Author to be able to come up with fictional stories and characters which promotes honesty. Make up your story to end up with how lying can work against a specific character. For example, after the end of the day ‘The boy who told the king where his Golden wristwatch was kept got compensated with a lot of gift, while the other who knew the truth but chose to lie was taken to prison’. Then you can end with a question like, ‘would you like to go to the prison?’
Appreciate him for being truthful
Children like to come up with stories, in as much as it makes you love them. They don’t bother to know what consequence their lies may attract. To help your child get over the habit of telling lies more quickly, you might want to consider appreciating every moment from him. Reward him for not telling lies and make him understand there are higher rewards if he won’t retract that truthful lane.
Again, here are some reasons why children tell lies and how to help them overcome the habit:
1. When they lie to get attention – be available and ready to listen and communicate.
2. When they lie to Cover up because they know they might get into trouble with the truth – re-assure him you will always love him telling you the truth at all time.
3. When they lie to see how you will react with their lies – let them understand how disappointed you feel when you found out the truth.
4. When they lie to make their stories sound better – Explain to him why his story sounds incomplete because it lacks the truth.
5. When they lie to make you love them – Show affection in several ways for your child to be more open to you. Bring up topics and encourage communication between you and your child.
6. When they lie to get what they want – Preach honesty to their hearing and appreciate them whenever they tell the truth. Consider a simple reward approached that lets him earn the things he wants.