Parenting Tips

On Lying Part 1

© Victoria Todd

Lying is a complicated topic, so I will offer several tips in relation to it.  Now, pretend your son and his friend are playing basketball in the driveway.  When his friend hits at long range and proceeds to celebrate, your son gets angry and hurls the ball at him.  When you intervene, he insists he didn’t do what you just witnessed.  Now what?

When it’s obvious that a child is lying, tell him that you (or another witness) saw him do what he denies.  Then you must deal with the misbehavior and the lie.  First and foremost, deal with the misbehavior.  Whenever possible, give your child the opportunity to undo what he has done, namely apologize in this situation.  Then impose a reasonable punishment.  “You’re showing me that you can’t play basketball safely.”

“No, I can!  I promise I can.”

“We’ll try again later, but for now we’re going to stop.”

In private, talk about what occurred including the fact that your son lied to you.  If lying is an ongoing problem, counseling is advisable.  If this is more of an isolated incident, discuss the importance of being honest—that lying is wrong; others won’t like him if he lies; and they won’t trust his word.  Inquire as to whether he has ever been lied to and how it made him feel.  In this instance, as well as all others, you see how very important parental example is.  Try not to lie to your child and always keep your promises or explain why if you can’t.