How to Address Lying!

Updated on January 06, 2009
C.C. asks from Apex, NC
5 answers

Hello Moms out there. I could really use your help. My daughter will be eight in a few days and the problem I have with her is that she lies on a daily basis. She lies to try to get out of trouble or to just get away with stuff. The other day she got into my make-up and lied about it so I forbid her to play at the neighbors that day. Initially she cried a lot but then on the same day she still continued to lie. Yesterday she wrecked our screen door and said the neighbor did it. When I "interrogated" her she finally said she did it but by accident. It doesn't seem to matter what I do, she just keeps lying. We just moved to NC and she will be going to school soon. Maybe the move is making her act out but this is still unacceptable. Plus I don't want to be a bad parent by scaring the truth out of her-I don't even know what the truth is! I will probably post the ten commandments on her wall but I still need some other ways to deal with her. Ways that are healthy and don't involve yelling. Please help!!!

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answers from Raleigh on

My son is six and was constantly lying. We are Christians, so reading the bible and praying is a large part of our life. I read Bryson scriptures from Proverbs 19 about what the bible teaches about lying and deceit and his little heart was so convicted, he started to cry and wanted to pray afterwards. We haven't had that problem since. My husband and I teach the love of God and that there are consequences for your actions.

It's never my goal to use God's word to scare my children, however it's very important to me they understand there are consequences for our choices.

Hope this helps.



answers from Raleigh on

I wish you all the best. My 13 year old is also lying non-stop. It can be about serious things such as school or something as simple as making up things in conversation. It is driving me nuts so I cannot wait to see your responses. Lately I am trying this approach and it seems to be working. When she speaks to me I seem very uninterested until I know she is being truthful. I have told her I will speak to her when she is not lying to me. Lying is very disrespectful and will not be tolerated. We ground her for the biggies. She is starting to engage more truthfully now- I think she craves the attention and when the lies did not get the attention- she tried the truth- we will see if this works long term :)



answers from Raleigh on

I read somewhere that if you really 'know' that they did the deed you are asking them about, then don't even ask them to confirm it. Just state it as a fact and give the consequences.

As you said, the lying is to get out of trouble. Even as adults we do that at times. Small fibs to smooth things over with the boss or the spouse.

So if it is something that you are not sure whether she did it or not, then offer her two concrete choices. This lesser consequence now if you tell the truth or this bigger consequence later if you lie and I find out that you did it.

Good luck.



answers from Raleigh on

It must be the age!
My son will be eight on Jan 9 (this Friday) and he is driving me insane with the lies. Everything from little white lies to lies by omission to full blown tall tales (mostly to get out of trouble).

I don't know if it's going to work, but I've been reading him "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" a lot lately and talking about why the people didn't come help the boy when there really was a wolf (because he lied before and now the people dont believe him). I also praise him (and sometimes reward with small treats like a piece of candy, gum, or small dollar-store type toy) when I "catch" him telling the truth. I keep telling him that if he does something bad and tells the truth, he might get punished for the bad behavior - but that if he does something bad and then lies about it, when I find out, he will definitely be punished for the behavior - and then for the lying.

I've also made him write sentences... "I will always tell the truth" and "If I lie, then nobody will ever believe me". (each sentence was at least 10-20 times)

Like I said, I don't know if any of these things are helping - but I figure maybe eventually my point will finally get across!! (And at least I'm trying to put an end to it... if he doesn't drive me nuts first!)

It breaks my heart that I can't believe him wholeheartedly, and that I have to question everything he tells me... it's like a little piece of his childhood innocence...poof gone!



answers from Raleigh on

Hi Corina and Welcome to NC! I'm glad you like it, even with this atypical dreary weather we've been having! You didn't mention if your daughter was lying a lot before the move. I know that lying can become habitual. The more one lies, the less one can discern the truth. So the opposite is true. The more one tells and recognizes the truth, the more obvious lies are. Perhaps you could 'train her in truth telling' when she's not in a position of defense. Use the word "truth or true" to tag statements of truth when you observe certain things. Show an admiration for truth that she doesn't have to assume, but clearly sees and hears. Praise truth when you see it in situations around you. Bring her attention to that virtue in other people, especially when they choose that over self-protection. Children want to please, and you can cue her in to what you really value and will please you.You might show her how lies not only hurt her own conscience and ability to know truth, but can also hurt other people, and also hurt her reputation, making it unreasonable to trust her. Ask her if she wants to be trusted, and what that will 'cost'. You may have to go out of your way to set these training moments up, but keep building on Truth first, until you feel she can recognize it clearly and is sensitive to it. Then, point out what lies look like, what they do to people, what they look like on other people (again, without her being the subject of study). Lastly, find opportunities to demonstrate to her how to tell the truth, even when it might seem easier or more convenient to lie.You might even create "Steps" to think through. Practise this in roleplaying until you're satisfied that she has the tools to think through the situation and choose to tell the truth. Misdeeds do have consequences. She needs to know how to handle the consequences with resolve and grace, keeping the truth and her self-respect intact. Try to separate the consequences from your disappointment. For instance, if she spills something, don't express disappointment, but let her clean it up. Even she's reckless, you can correct her and hold her responsible without being disappointed. Save the disappointment for character failures. Finally, test her when you know the truth yourself. Help her to be calm, and before she can utter a lie, help her to think through what she's learned in the 'training sessions'. If she passes the test, praise her for telling the truth. The final test will be when she can tell the truth even if it means she'll have to bear consequences for a misdeed. Give her lots of praises for telling the truth then. Help her bear the consequences with resolve and dignity. If at any point she doesn't pass the test, go back and train more. The reward will be far greater than the effort in the long run, for both of you!

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