Teaching Your Kids Not To Lie
Keep the Pinnocchios in your family in check with these strategies:
Know Why Your Kids Are Lying. Kids lie for many of the same reasons adults do – they want to impress their friends (or you, or their teacher…) or they want to stay out of trouble. Keeping this in mind will help you deal with the issue.
Start Young. As with any habit or behavior, it is important to start teaching your child to be truthful from a young age. Don’t indulge your young child’s stories or exaggerations.
Be a role model. How many times have you told a telemarketer that your wife isn’t available when she is standing right beside you? That may seem small to you, but your child can get confused and will take after your example.
Talk About It. As with any value or behavior you want to teach your child, showing isn’t enough – it’s important to talk with your child. Help your child understand the difference between a lie and “telling a story”. Give specific examples to your child when he or she has done both.
Also, explain to your child how lying can hurt his relationships with his friends, or how you won’t be able to trust your daughter if she is lying.
Praise and Discipline. Praise your child when he or she tells the truth. Also, give your child consequences for lying. Let older children know that they will not be given more responsibility until they can show that they are truthful.
Teach Tact. If you have younger children, explain to them when it is not appropriate to speak up. Your child may speak the truth by saying “Aunt Sally, the scarf you gave me is ugly”. Explain to your child that sometimes the truth hurts people’s feelings. In this case, focus your discussion on encouraging your child to remember to say nice things to people. For example, “Aunt Sally, I like that you always bring me a present whenever you visit”.
Teaching your kids not to lie is key for raising responsible, respectful adults, and will help you to remember to be truthful, too!