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Tools for when your child lies

September 25, 2013 by admin  
Filed under Peaceful Parenting

As adults we are way ahead of children who are just learning about how this world functions. If your child lies once in a while or on a regular basis, here are some tools to help :)

When your child lies, notice your reaction. Are you reacting the way your parents did? Are you instantly triggered by the lie and have a hard time seeing what is really causing it?

Please take a breath and step out of your reaction the next time it happens and notice what is triggering you so deeply. Recognize that your child is not lying to purposely betray you for the sake of betraying you.

Know that you have the ability to guide your child to effective communication and greater self awareness when you get what is happening. Almost always, children lie to please us. Your reaction matters more than the lie - your reaction is what will guide your child. Punishment and threats don’t teach moral intelligence, they just create resentment and “sneaky” behavior.

Why they lie:
Young kids lie to please adults and to protect themselves. Kids lie to avoid punishment. If you show your child that you respond to the truth in ways that offer connection and acceptance then your child will be much more likely to shift her/his behavior.

I taught my child, “no matter what, no matter how bad it seems, tell me the truth and I PROMISE I won’t get mad.” That was a big promise, sometimes we find ourselves getting angry when things go awry and our children make choices that we really don’t like. If you show your child that you can hold up your promise then you can much more easily sort out the problem together in an emotionally intelligent way and your child learns integrity AND problem solving not anxiety, lying and panic.

Make sure to stick to your word and you will notice that this works amazingly well as your children now feels safe to tell the truth and they know that you are on their side. A problem still needs to be dealt with but you can do this together. Lying covers up sticky and difficult emotions that take courage to deal with. Helping your child find that courage will serve him when the temptations to tell bigger lies come up.

A very young child may lie because she is wishing for something. This is her way of trying to control what she desires with her words. She is exploring how our complex structure of language works in the world.

What is possible for you to recognize what she is trying to do and teach her what she can do instead?

When you start to see how lying develops (Trying to please, experimenting with what works in this world with language, and trying to avoid being punished) it becomes easier for parents to disengage from the emotional charge the lie brings up in them.

1) Don’t ignore lies or over react to them. Try to stay neutral and notice what your child is trying to get to. Guide your child in an age appropriate way. If your child broke something, for example, and denies it emphatically when you KNOW he did it, instead of, “I know you broke sister’s toy stop lying to me.” You can try, I know it is hard to tell what happened when you feel like it is a bad thing. I bet you wished it did not happen.” Encourage your child to tell the truth by taking off the emotional charge. Help your child feel safe enough to tell the truth and send the message that:

Even when it is hard to admit the truth, I can do it - I will still be loved.

It is safe to tell mom/dad things.

2) Show your child how to right a wrong and let him know that the truth makes you relaxed and happy. Instead of engaging in a power struggle trying to force your child to admit that he is lying, show him that he can count on help to “fix” something he is afraid that he can’t fix on his own. For example:

“I can see the whole box of eggs on the floor. Can you tell me what happened?”

“They just fell from the fridge just like that.”

“I know that eggs are not so powerful that they can move on their own.”

“I didn’t do it.”

“I don’t like it when I break things either. Sometimes I wish I could go back and erase what happened. Do you ever feel like that? It is hard to be the one who broke something.”

“I bet you wished this never happened.”

” Ya I thought it would be ok to take out the milk and the eggs were slipping off the shelf and I couldn’t catch them in time.”

“Let’s clean this up with a couple of rags.”

3) When your child lies about doing homework and you get a call from the teacher. Before you go off on a rant or feel like you have been betrayed, become the detective and figure out with your child what is really going on so you can stop the real reason that is provoking your child to lie. For example:

“Is everything going ok with math?”

“ya it’s fine.”

” Your teacher called and said that you haven’t been doing your homework? What’s up?”

“Nothing. I am doing my homework.”

” Your teacher is concerned that the assignments are not being handed in. I was wondering if there is anything about math that you don’t like.’

“I hate fractions, I don’t get it. It’s stupid.”

” I can see how you feel, not understanding makes it hard to do the work.What part of it doesn’t make sense?”

Next you can begin to problem solve with your child to help him with the challenge. If you don’t get the math, find someone who does or someone your child thinks he can buddy with to get the help he needs. Talk to the teacher and see what solutions you can co-create without making the child feel like he is a loser because he doesn’t get the math.

In the above scenario, the lie was created because the child could not find a way out. Show your child how to handle things and you will see that the lying stops.

The more your child can feel connected to you the easier it will be for him to build a moral foundation so he can succeed in the future without hiding, covering up or telling blatant lies.

Kids are looking to be understood and the more practice your child gets recognizing that lying is not the way, as you provide an emotionally safe environment, the easier it will be for him to feel good and courageous enough to tell the truth.

Melinda Asztalos is a parent coach, speaker, author and the founder of Life Positive by Design. She assists parents through a conscious parenting process that enables them to achieve and sustain, positive solutions to their specific parenting challenges. For more information, Please visit: http://lifepositivebydesign.com

Julian Kalmar and Rick Beneteau want to know if you've got what it takes to step up and be a leader in the new world transformation. CLICK HERE to find out.

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