What To Do When Your Child Lies

It’s bound to happen at some point. Your brutally honest child who has never held back from the truth stares you right in the face and lies. Most parents don’t worry about the issue unless it becomes a chronic one or unless the lie is regarding something significant. In fact, kids as young as three years old can tell a pretty good lie, so parents are faced with this issue early on.

As a dad, how do you handle the situation when your child blatantly lies to you? It may seem to be more comfortable to pass it off, but it’s best to address the issue right away.

First and foremost, keep in mind that all children lie, and this lying streak is especially common from the ages of four to ten. There are many reasons why kids lie, so your little one may not be in the running for the next politician quite yet. The best approach is to sit down with your child and talk about why he or she lied. Maybe your child got the facts mixed up or maybe the past was a bit fuzzy. The lie may not have been intentional and you can clear up what happened and settle the problem.

If your child lied for a particular reason, you will want to address that reason. For example, maybe your child lied about doing her homework because she wanted to play outside with her friends. This is an understandable response from a child and one that you can identify with. Validate your child’s feelings by saying, “I understand that you wanted to play outside.” Then lay the ground rules and why you expect them; “But we discussed that homework is always the first thing on the list. School is important and you can play outside when your homework is completed.”

Also tell your child how the lie affected others in the family. Maybe the family had an evening bike ride planned and now it has to be postponed because your child has to stay in and do homework. Talking the situation over with your child is essential, but you also need to discuss better ways to handle the situation should it arise again. Arm your child with the tools she needs to handle the issue instead of resorting to lying.

For example, maybe your child has been lying about having a good grade and then you receive a call home from the teacher stating otherwise. If your child was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say to you or his teacher, you can work together to create a homework and study plan, plus determine how your child should handle the problem if his grade starts to slip again.

Consistency is also important, so make sure that you are following up with the problem and giving your child ample opportunities to be honest. When you find your child lying, know that this probably won’t be the last time. There’s no need to be on the defense, but you may want to brush up on your own truthful habits. Kids learn from adults, so model good behavior.

If your kid catches you in a lie, own up to your actions. Tell your child that it was wrong of you to lie and that even dads make mistakes. When your child tells the truth, don’t let it go by as if it’s nothing. Praise your child for a job well done; after all, honesty is a great trait to have.