There is an age-old song that we know and even our grandparents and probably their grandparents do. You’ll be surprised to know that this song teaches our children lying and also that lying is OK.
“Telling a lie, no papa
Open your mouth, ha! ha! ha!”
Surprised? Well, if you ask your child about eating a chocolate which he is not supposed to eat and he lies about it flat-out on your face, would you consider that a lie or an innocent mistake?
A recent article published in The New York Times says that “Kids who know how to deceive are smarter and better adjusted.” In my opinion, this is a highly debatable topic. We have been taught not to lie, no matter what. And that dishonesty is a bad thing. We try to teach our kids the same. Honestly, I won’t be OK with my children lying to me or anyone else. Whatever the psychologists say, as a parent I am not comfortable with normalising “lying” and accepting it as a benchmark of smartness.
However, it’s still possible that your child will lie somewhere along the way. While a younger child my cook up a story about how she didn’t hit his younger sibling or a friend; the older kids may lie constantly or lie about being hit.
Why Do Children Lie?
Lying in kids is not uncommon. Lying is their notion of being big, brave, free and powerful. Fairy tales, fictitious characters and fanciful stories are examples of children’s wishful thinking, exaggeration of real or an imaginary experience.
Children lie because of many reasons.
- They lie to avoid punishment
- To avoid doing things that they don’t like
- For attracting attention
- To show off before friends
- To shirk off responsibility
- Whenever the child feels intimidated by adults or peers
How Can You Handle and Correct Your Child When He Lies?
It will be difficult to get your child to accept his lies. However, it can be achieved with love and building trust. Reprimanding and warnings will make your child obstinate and disobedient.
- With the help of storytelling and role modeling make your child understand that lying to avoid any unpleasantness is not right. It has negative consequences.
- Build your trust and faith in your child. Your child should be able to confide in you without the fear of getting scolded or punished.
- Don’t get offended if your child tells you that he hates his brother or a relative. He is trying to share his innermost feelings with you. Listen patiently and then respond.
- Stop reacting. Start responding. Avoid threatening, shaming or intimidating your child.
- Be a good role model for your child. Don’t indulge and encourage “little white lies”. This was your child will understand that lying is unacceptable.
- Always check the facts before confronting your child and know ‘his side of the story’.
- Try to understand why he lied. Gently ask him to apologise to whoever he has lied to.
- Lastly, practice what you preach.
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