My kid lies to me! I used to hear these words all the time from parents in my classes. They would be so distraught as to what they were going to do to their kids, because surely they had to learn a lesson. Kids telling lies is an issue that many parents struggle with how to handle. While frustrating, there are many ways to avoid it once you understand why it happens.
If you follow my articles, you will realize that I am not in favor of punishment of any kind. No, my four adult boys are not selfish, spoiled brats as you are probably thinking right now! Misbehavior is communication telling you that something is wrong A child, in their mind, is feeling powerless, unloved, not valued, or not important, Keep in mind, this might not be true, but if they perceive it to be true, then it is truth to them, and that is what matters. They may also have found some patterns of behavior that work for them, such as getting lots of attention. The key is to find out why they are misbehaving in the first place and deal with the problem, not the symptoms, as most punishment does.
I know you are thinking, but they have to be punished!! No, not really, who decided that kids must feel pain in order to change their behavior? I always ask, “How is that working for you? Did the behavior stop for good?” It usually doesn’t change anything other than make the child get more sneaky or lie to get out of the punishment, thus brings us to the lies.
Okay, so do I let my kids just do whatever with no consequences? Of course not! There are always consequences to choices and behaviors, that is life. However, the consequences they had to deal with were logical for the behavior.
- If you don’t wear a coat, you might get cold.
- If you don’t eat, you get hungry.
- If you forget your homework, you have to deal with the teacher.
- If you leave toys out and they get stepped on and broken, you don’t have the toy anymore.
Logical consequences are (4 R’s) Respectful, Reasonable, Relevant, and teach Responsibility for actions, not “pay” for mistakes. They are meant to look for solutions, offering choices, and dealing with the belief behind the behavior, not deciding what YOU want or will do. If the consequence is not obvious, then it probably isn’t appropriate to use. In order for them to work, the child must be able to clearly relate his behavior with the consequence without a trace of punishment.
Okay, back to lying …….
First, NEVER call you child a liar, or any other name for that matter. You never want to put that thought in his head and give him the assumption that he might as well anyway, since that is what you think of him.
Second, make sure they have never heard you lying, not even those little white lies. “Tell him I’m not home”, etc.
If it is his job to feed the dog and you know the dog hasn’t been fed, don’t ask him if the dog has been fed. Again, that sets him up for more lies. Simple state the fact – “I see that the dog has not been fed again, we need to decide what will happen if this continues”. Obviously, a logical consequence can’t happen here, or you will have a dead dog! If it is a first time, he may have truly forgotten and just needed a reminder. If it continues, then this is the time to sit down and discuss the situation and mutually decide what will be a consequence, not punishment, if it happens again.
Start when they are young, and work on making them feel valuable, powerful, UNCONDITIONALLY loved, and important. Spend time doing that, and most misbehaviors will go away or not even happen at all, Yes, there are normal age appropriate testing of boundaries. That is their job! Know they will happen, expect them, and deal with them in a kind, yet firm way.
Peace Begins At Home,
Learn proven skills that easily redirect misbehavior while building strong and loving connections with your kids.Parents everywhere are finding solutions in the Redirecting Children’s Behavior Online Course!