Many kids lie now and then and it is completely natural for them to do so as they learn how to operate in a society. But if your child is lying a lot and enjoying it, then you must intervene at this early stage.
There can be multiple reasons why a child is resorting to lying instead of telling the truth. Maybe they are trying to make themselves feel better or look cooler by bragging with lies in front of others. Or maybe they committed some blunder and are afraid or ashamed to tell the truth. Or they made some mischief and do not want to get caught for their prank. Lies can be innocent or they can be harmful for the child as well as for others. It is important to identify and track their lying behaviour and take steps to control the situation effectively.
Some kids do not lie consciously and it actually becomes a part of their habit. They are unable to control this habit which means the child is struggling with organizing their thoughts or thinking about consequences of their actions or words.
Here are some strategies you can try to encourage your child to tell the truth.
Gain their trust to share truth
If you do not bond well with your child or are too strict whenever they commit a folly, chances are your child will not trust you to share their mistakes or embarrassing moments with you. You also need to have a forgiving nature (though not always) and not get too mad or upset with your child when they go wrong. Otherwise, the next time they will try even harder to hide the truth from you. Be accepting of them and explain to your child that honesty won’t lead to punishment. If you angrily confront the child, they may tighten their shell further and lie more. The more they lie, the easier it gets for them to do it again.
Use inspiring stories
In one intriguing study, researchers found that tales which encourage honesty with a positive reaction, even if it is admitting one’s fault, will make kids less likely to lie, in comparison to stories that come with a punishment for lying. Apart from storybooks, you can also share incidents of people your child knows and teach them how being honest has been rewarding for them.
Practice what you preach
Parents often lie to children to manipulate them for good behaviour or to avoid difficult conversation by lying instead of telling and explaining your child the truth. However, when your child realises or observes you lying to them or anyone else around, they can pick on this behaviour and accept lying as something okay to do. A University of California, San Diego study found that elementary school children who heard a lie from an adult about the presence of candy in another room were more likely to lie to cover up their misbehavior. It is important to model the right behaviour yourself too and your child will easily pick these good values from their environment.
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