The Lying Child: How to Deal with a Child Who Lies

Have Difficulty with a Lying Child?

What to Do When Children Lie
Excerpted from Keepers of the Children by Laura M. Ramirez

At one time or another, your child will experiment with lying. This is part of development and a normal drive to test the limits to find out what she can and can't get away with. Remembering this will help you to avoid taking lies personally.

The fastest way to create a liar is to punish her for lying. Rather than resorting to punishment, focus on what you want to teach—honesty—and give your child opportunities to aspire to it.

The first time I caught my eldest son in a lie, he insisted that he was telling me the truth. Although he was quite convincing, I knew better. I squatted down to his level and asked him to imagine that our hearts were connected by hundreds of tiny threads. "When you lie to me," I said, "you cut one of these threads and sever a connection between our hearts. The more you lie, the more threads are cut. Eventually, lying separates us completely. But when you choose to tell the truth," I said, "those threads grow stronger, until they become impossible to cut."

After hearing this, my son said, "Mom, I lied to you. I'm sorry. Can we glue our hearts back together now?" He hugged me and we talked about how good it felt to be honest with each other. In this way, he experienced the release of coming clean with someone whose primary objective is to teach him to be honest with himself.

Rather than coerce your child into being honest, help him take baby steps toward the truth. In this way, telling the truth helps him to develop a sense of authenticity. Since being authentic will make him feel connected to himself and those he loves, he will want to tell the truth.

As a mother, it is my job to keep my son honest, so he can stay honest with himself. I tell him that I understand the temptation of lying because as a child, I experimented with it too. Although initially, I fooled others and tricked myself into believing I was clever, eventually, I felt like a fraud because the more I lied to others, the more I deceived myself.

Lying hurts the liar because it isolates her from those she loves. When lying is allowed to continue, it becomes a lifestyle that is difficult to stop. "Lifestyle Liars" lie about everything, even little things that do not matter. They even lie about lying which borders on craziness. (This is why it is essential to help a lying child stop.) Lying hurts the liar more than anyone because it disconnects her from herself.

This article may not be copied, distributed or reproduced in any manner without the written consent of the author.

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