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Question
Posted by: Concerned Mum | 2012-05-11

Child lying

Dear Cybershrink,

I am really concerned about my 8 year old. She just lies about everything and anything. This only started recently like about 3 months ago. I spoke to her and explained that lying is bad and that she shows me disrespect by lying to me but the lies continue. Is there any other parents with the same issue and how do you handle it? How do you get this under control?

Any advise will really be appreciated

Thank you

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I like Purple's approach. I'd also like to add a discussion with her about the value of truth. Point out that she probably aassumes that what you and her father tell her, maybe what the teacher says, is true. Invite her to think through what it'd be like if you folks even sometimes told her lies - she could never know when to believe you and when not. Wouldn't that make life really difficult for her ? Wouldn't it be worth avoiding ?
I also like Purple's point about avoiding empty questions where you already know the answer, rather than responding firmly but without fuss, to the obvious.
The Mom looks can be powerful ( and somehow, the Dad Look doesn't seem to work as well ).
And Anon is right - its is not that your child has no idea what is right or wrong, but that there are no consequences to her lying, which bother her compared with the potential advantages

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Our users say:
Posted by: Purple | 2012-05-11

Have another talk to her where you explain that when she tells lies, people think less of her - because they can see through them. People won''t trust her, she will lose friends and that you lose respect for her.

Also, don''t put her in situations where lying is the best option. So, if you know who made a mess in the lounge don''t say " who made this mess"  - you know it was her, she knows it was her, and that just invites lying. Say - there are things in the lounge that need to be picked up and then leave it at that. You''ll be surprised, but when ther eis no blame or anger attached to an instruction, children obey it.

Give her " the mom look"  when you can tell she is lying. Most children will blush and apologise when this happens. If they don''t, then saying " are you really sure that is what happened"  can give them a chance to correct themselves.


Also, when she owns up to something and tells the truth, even if it will get her into trouble - don''t punish her - she will just stop owning up to things then so it defeats the purpose of the punishment - which is to bring about better behaviour.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Anon | 2012-05-11

The problem is not that your child does not KNOW or UNDERSTAND that lying is wrong. It is that there is no consequences to lying.

Reply to Anon
Posted by: Nondumiso | 2012-05-11

I have the same problem with my 10 yr old,I just keep stressing how important it is to always tell the truth,lets see what the other parents say

Reply to Nondumiso
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-05-11

I like Purple's approach. I'd also like to add a discussion with her about the value of truth. Point out that she probably aassumes that what you and her father tell her, maybe what the teacher says, is true. Invite her to think through what it'd be like if you folks even sometimes told her lies - she could never know when to believe you and when not. Wouldn't that make life really difficult for her ? Wouldn't it be worth avoiding ?
I also like Purple's point about avoiding empty questions where you already know the answer, rather than responding firmly but without fuss, to the obvious.
The Mom looks can be powerful ( and somehow, the Dad Look doesn't seem to work as well ).
And Anon is right - its is not that your child has no idea what is right or wrong, but that there are no consequences to her lying, which bother her compared with the potential advantages

Reply to cybershrink

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