An average person tells about 1 to 2 lies a day, and your child is no exception. Lying is a part of human nature, but it is very important that he also knows how to tell the truth. As the saying goes, “Honesty is the best policy.”. Encouraging honesty among children will prevent a habit of lying.
Here are a few reasons why your child might lie and suggestions to overcome them:
Why: To avoid a consequence
Suggestion: Set reasonable expectations for your child. It is unrealistic to constantly demand perfect behaviour. Your child might feel too much pressure and continue lying so that he will not be punished. Instead, accept the fact that he will make mistakes and help him improve himself instead of heavily criticising him. This way, he will not lie to you to hide his mistakes.
Why: To gain approval for their behaviour or make themselves sound better
Suggestion: Children who do this tend to have lower self-esteem and lack confidence. Read our article here to find out how to boost their self-esteem. You should also praise your child whenever he owns up to his mistake. For example, ‘I’m very happy that you told me the truth. Let’s try to solve the problem together.’. This way, your child will feel more encouraged to tell the truth next time.
Why: To get your attention
Suggestion: Set aside time for your child and tell him calmly about how lying makes you feel, how it might affect his relationship with you and how his friends and family will stop trusting him if he continues lying. Perhaps this might also be a sign that you are not spending enough time with him. No matter how busy you are, remember to always spend a few minutes per day to ask your child how his day was.
Why: To get something that they want
Suggestion: Be sure to tell your child that you know when he is lying, and that it does not help him get whatever he wants. Instead, let him know that he has to be honest with you so that you will consider granting his request (if it is not unreasonable). Avoid labelling him as a ‘liar’ as this might lead to resentment and possibly more lying.