A new survey shows that the average adult tells four lies a
day, or 1,460 lies a year. Is it any wonder that our
children tell fibs, too?

Yet chances are when your child tells a whopper, it makes
you mad.

Why do kids lie?

Kids lie for lots of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is
to avoid punishment. After all, what child likes being
grounded or losing privileges?

A wonderful mom I work with shared a story about a time her child lied. Her son was in math class taking a big test.
When the test was handed out her child also received the
answer grid! Her child decided to copy the answers. Later,
when the teacher confronted him, he lied and said he had not cheated.

Her son was a good student who hadn’t been in trouble
before. In fact, he admired his math teacher. He lied not
only to try and escape punishment, but also because he was
embarrassed and worried what his teacher would think of him. Sometimes kids lie to avoid disappointing adults they care about.

Other times, kids will lie to side-step a sticky situation
or perhaps to get attention. Sometimes kids tell lies to
elevate their social standing among peers or to gain an
advantage. Other times, a child may feel threatened,
insecure or guilty.

So, what should you do when your child lies?

One solution is to tell kids who have done something wrong, “You’re going to receive one consequence for the bad choice you just made, but if you lie to me about it, you’re going to receive two consequences.” Normally, this approach will inspire children to tell the truth. When they do tell you the truth, then praise them for taking responsibility for their actions and tell them how much you value honesty.

If you sense that the child is feeling threatened, insecure,
guilty or embarrassed, you can talk with the child about
those feelings by saying, “You seem kind of embarrassed.
Tell me more.”

You can also say, “That’s not how it happened. I need you to tell me the truth.”

Sometimes you may inadvertently be setting your child up to lie. Let’s say that you know that your child just broke your favorite vase and you ask the child, “Did you break that vase?” Chances are that the child will lie to avoid the
punishment, save face, etc. Instead, what you could say is
“I see that the vase is broken” and then take steps to clean
it up, determine a consequence, etc. but the focus of the
interaction is on SOLUTIONS rather than BLAME.

Or, you can take T. Berry Brazelton’s advice. He urges
parents to stay calm and say, “We both know that what you
said isn’t true. You don’t need to lie. I can stand the
truth and so can you.”

And let’s not forget that you are your child’s role model.
Perhaps we can all work on lying fewer than 1,460 times per year!

Author's Bio: 

Byline: Toni Schutta, Parent Coach, M.A., L.P. Visit www.getparentinghelpnow.com to receive the free mini-course “The 7 Worst Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Avoid Them!) and also receive details about the “Yell Less. Hug More! 7 Essential Skills to Make You a Better Parent” class.