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Patience, Child Therapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 291
Experience:  MA Clinical Psychology; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Skills trainer
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hello, i have two little boys age 6 and the other will be 8

Resolved Question:

hello, i have two little boys age 6 and the other will be 8 tomorrow, the problem i have with both of them is that they both lie and their not white lies either, its causing tension in the home....what can i do to stop this? please help.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Patience replied 3 years ago.


I am sorry to hear that your family is having problems.However, it does sounds that your children are young enough that you will probably have enough time and space to make a real difference in the situation.Please check out the explanations and ideas below, and let me know if you have any further questions.I would appreciate it if you could rate the response right away, so I can be credited for my work.After that, we can continue to discuss as needed for no extra charge.

Keep in mind that even though lying can be a problem if becomes ongoing and extensive, it is also a normal situation in children’s development.Children up to right around your sons’ ages are still figuring out the difference between fantasy and reality, and so sometimes they’re not so clear where their make believe leaves off and the real world begins. When you stop and think about things like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, you can see why they may be confused.

As children get older, they still may have issues with their problem–solving skils.Therefore, they may lie when they feel cornered, or they’re afraid of punishment or rejection, or they think that lying will make things easier for themselves or others. Perhaps they just want to make themselves look better because they don't know they are good enough as they are.Or they may be worried about being yelled at, hit, or otherwise punished.Children may also lie to get out of doing something they don’t want to do, such as homework or chores.

It’s hard not to take the lying personally or to be disappointed in your children. But it is good to remember that are just trying to solve their problems, albeit in an ineffective way. Your job, then, becomes to teach your children how to face their problems head on and to tell the truth rather than to punish them for minor misdeeds. Over time, it is probable that they will learn to do that without lying.

Children can learn that it is safe to tell the truth in their family. If and when they forget that, you should remind them about it with gentleness and love, while helping them overcome their fears and mistaken beliefs. For example, praise your children for honesty, instead of only punishing them for lying. Let them know you love them unconditionally. You can say something like, "Thank you for telling the truth. I know that was difficult. “

Parenting Pointers:

  • ***Avoid setting up situations that invite lying. A set-up question is one to which you already know the answer, such as, "Did you clean your room?" Instead say, "I notice you didn't clean your room. Do you want me to help you make a plan for cleaning it?"
  • ***Focus on solutions to problems instead of blame. "What should we do about getting the chores done?" instead of, "Did you do your chores?"
  • ***Be straightforward.You can say something like, "That doesn't sound like the truth to me. Maybe you’re feeling scared to tell the truth. Why don't we take some time off from this right now? Later I'll be available if you would like to share with me what is going on for you."
  • ***Respect your children's privacy when they don't want to share all of their life with you. Give them a little space to be and learn on their own.
  • ***Help your children believe that mistakes are opportunities to learn so they won't believe they are bad and need to cover up their mistakes.
  • ***Set an example in telling the truth. Share about times when it was difficult for you to tell the truth, but you decided it was more important to feel the fear and experience the consequences to keep your self-respectand integrity..
  • ***Remember that who your children are now is not who they will be forever. When they slip and tell a lie, try not to overreact by calling them a liar.
  • ***Focus on building closeness and trust instead of on the behavior problem. This is usually the quickest way to diminish the behavior that you find objectionable.
  • ***Stick to your guns about punishments and consequences, of course, but once those have been assigned, try not to harp on bad behavior.

Even if it seems like no matter what you do, your children keep lying, stick with your efforts. Things will get better, even if it takes a while! Children who have good communication with their parents are less likely to engage in lying and other antisocial behavior as they mature and grow.

If your children seem not to be bothered by lying or taking advantage of others, then professional help may be indicated. Or even if you would just like further support, you may want to contact a family counselor.Here is link if you need help in finding a therapist:

Good luck and good blessings to you and yours, Patience P.

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