One of the things that is coming up again and again for my clients at the moment, is the problem of lying.
- How do we stop lying?
- Why are they lying when it is so obvious?
- Her/His lies are so over-the-top and ridiculous, that I just end up getting really angry.
- How can I encourage them to tell me the truth?
- If they tell me the truth I’m going to be less grumpy and angry than if they lie to me!
There are a couple of steps to take to discourage lying and bring back truthfulness to your home.
Step 1. Stop giving your children the opportunity to lie
THIS is the most important thing that you can do for your children. Don’t ask the questions that you already know the answers to. Don’t ask the questions that lead to lying. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you will be lied to.
IT IS THIS SIMPLE!!!
You actually need to just trust yourself. Trust that you already know the sequence of events that happened, and if you don’t really know what happened, then let it go, but be aware enough to be watching next time the same set of circumstances present themselves.
Children lie because they can.
Children lie because it is human nature to want to protect themselves.
Children lie because they know that they are going to get into trouble, and they don’t want to get into trouble. And no matter how much you tell them they will be in LESS trouble if they tell the truth, they won’t believe you because maybe once you didn’t ease up. And actually getting into trouble is getting into trouble, whether it is a lenient sentence or not, it actually doesn’t tend to be good for the kid, so they really don’t want to get into trouble.
I know that this almost seems counter-intuitive, and I’m not actually dealing with the problem, but trust me that THIS is the most important!!
Step 2 – Is about having the conversations in your family about truthfulness, and about honesty.
This step can never happen during an episode where you suspect there is lying. It won’t work, a child’s self preservation is so reactionary that they will do anything during an episode of lying to protect themselves.
This is about family values, and constant communication with your kids over a long period of time. It is about making the positives of telling the truth a big deal in your family. NOT as a reaction from lying, but as a way of life, as a way of talking in your home.
Lying happens in a home, because it is allowed to happen.
This happens completely by accident in the initial stages, because we are trying to find out what happened, we are trying to work out whose fault an argument, or a fight was, and we then give out consequences for the problem, and also for lying if we catch our children out in it.
This incidentally teaches our children not to own up to a problem, or a situation so that they don’t get into trouble, or get any ‘consequences’.
Lying is a leaned behaviour though, so if you don’t give your kids practice in LEARNING the behaviour of lying then you will have a much more truthful home.
This does depend quite strongly on your reactions to situations though. If your children tell you the truth of a situation, and you have an open and honest home normally HOW WILL YOU REACT TO THE TRUTH?
If you would like some more advice on dealing with lying in your home – get in touch – I have spaces available for coaching for July and August – firstname.lastname@example.org