Child Behavior

Lying

Stop trying to control children. Many children lie so they can find out who they are and do what they want to do. At the same time, they are trying to please their parents by making them think they are doing what they are supposed to do.

Life Skills Children Can Learn

Children can learn that it is safe to tell the truth in their family. Even when they forget that, they are reminded with gentleness and love. They can learn that their parents care about their fears and mistaken beliefs and will help them overcome them.

Parenting Pointers

1. Most of us would lie to protect ourselves from punishment or disapproval. Parents who punish or lecture increase the chances that their children will lie as a defense mechanism. All of the above suggestions are designed to create a nonthreatening environment in which children can feel safe to tell the truth.

2. Many children lie to protect themselves from judgment and criticism because they believe it when adults say they are bad. Of course they want to avoid this kind of pain.

3. Remember that who your child is now is not who your child will be forever. If your child tells a lie, don't overreact to the behavior by calling your child a liar.

4. Focus on building closeness and trust in the relationship instead of on the behavior problem. This is usually the quickest way to diminish the behavior that you find objectionable.

Booster Thoughts

In hopes of avoiding the crying fits that usually resulted when Micah's mother questioned his stories, she thought she'd try something new. When the eight-year-old said, "I saw an elephant on my way home from school," his mother said, "Wow, I wonder if it was the same one I saw at the grocery store? What color was the one you saw?"

"Mine was green," Micah said.

"Nope," his mom said, "Mine was blue and pink."

Micah looked suspiciously at his mom and said, "I think I'll go play in my room now. See you later." His mom smiled to herself, and Micah ran to his room.


These articles are an excerpt from the book Positive Discipline A-Z by Jane Nelsen, Lynn Lott and H. Stephen Glenn. If you are interested in learning more about the book or authors, please visit

www.positivediscipline.com.

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