Teaching Children That Lie

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Teaching Children That Lie

Postby smackbucket on Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:02 am

Parents that have been parenting a long time, have you learned any good tricks at communicating the consequences of lying to your children? Any of you have children that like to lie, just to lie? Any methods that brought more success than others?

Our boy is only 4, and it's somewhat hard to get him to understand the consequences of lying. The consequence falling off a roof is clear, but the consequences of lying are a little more abstract to a 4 year old. We explain it hurts our family, and that it makes it hard to trust him. He understands that God has given him one main thing to do, and that for now, that's to obey us, and in doing so he's obeying God. He seems to "get it," but yet it's only the fear of a spanking that seems to keep him from lying...every once in a while. But there's never repentance until there's a good butt shining. :)

But even then, he goes through fazes where he'll lie 4 times in a day and get a spanking for each lie. That seems to clear it up for about a week, but then he stars back up again. I'm sure it's pretty common. I know I lied a lot as a child, but I don't know if I did at 4. ?
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Re: Teaching Children That Lie

Postby nike on Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:54 pm

Hi, Smackbucket,

I have a couple of options for you, though I think you are on the right track. Some issues don't just disappear - it takes consistent parenting and perseverance to win the battle! Each child has a sinful bend and as parents we are called to straighten out that bend or when the child grows up, he will be deeply entrenched in that sin (Train up a child in the way he should go/in the way he is bent, and when he is old he will not depart from it...). You have the responsibility to hang in there and keep working on that bend, and from what you posted, you are heading in the right direction.

Try a different method of discipline - though spanking is often effective, it's not the only method. For lying, sometimes washing their mouth out with soap can be effective. My sister used to make her son sit with a bar of soap hanging from his mouth for 10 minutes at a time! Unfortunately my son liked the taste of soap...

Another method would be to make him understand that lying is a choice he is making. We had a dice game that had multiple colors of dice and I picked out a black and a white die, then had the child pick his own color. That color represented the child. I told the child that white was God's team and black was Satan's team (a good vs. evil thing). Every morning the child was to choose whose team he wanted to be on that day. If he chose obedience, his die was placed on the white one. Then if he disobeyed, I took him in the room and had them switch the die and explained that it was his choice to be disobedient and please Satan. Then came the discipline and the child was once again given the choice of whose team he wanted to be on. A visual reminder that he was making to the choice to either please the Lord or please Satan. I know it's simplistic, but it was effective.

One other note - be sure to praise obedience! Say he goes a whole week without lying...take him out for a happy meal or by him a bouncy ball for a nickel at the grocery store. God rewards good behavior, too!

nike
Last edited by nike on Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Teaching Children That Lie

Postby nike on Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:18 pm

Oh, and if you're worried about soap...I had a friend who used tabasco sauce...

:fireman:
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Re: Teaching Children That Lie

Postby smackbucket on Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:27 pm

Hmmm. I like the thought of adding some visuals, like your dice game. Visuals always help a kid, and help keep them interested in the discussion. Thanks, Nike!
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Re: Teaching Children That Lie

Postby kazbo on Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:24 pm

Four years old is very young.

I have helped my boys tell me the truth by not freaking out when they did. If they broke something, for instance, I didn't go ballistic about it, so that next time they wouldn't be tempted to hide whatever they broke or lie about doing it. If you want your child to tell you the truth, they need to be able to trust you and to feel safe telling you the truth. It's thinking about why they are choosing to lie rather than tell you the truth, and working with that.

I also always tell my boys that I am proud they told me the truth, because I understand how very difficult it can be.

Rather than focus on reducing the number of instances your child lies, why not focus on increasing the number of times he tells the truth and celebrate it? Then telling the truth will be a joy to him rather than simply a way to avoid a negative consequence. Especially when, considering he's a boy, you stress to him how courageous and brave it is to tell the truth.

I think this article has some good insights into what's going on in children's minds concerning telling the truth:

http://parenting.ivillage.com/tp/tpbeha ... kl,00.html

I don't necessarily agree with everything in it, but the overall tone of it is on track.
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Re: Teaching Children That Lie

Postby smackbucket on Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:31 am

kazbo wrote:Four years old is very young.

I have helped my boys tell me the truth by not freaking out when they did. If they broke something, for instance, I didn't go ballistic about it, so that next time they wouldn't be tempted to hide whatever they broke or lie about doing it. If you want your child to tell you the truth, they need to be able to trust you and to feel safe telling you the truth. It's thinking about why they are choosing to lie rather than tell you the truth, and working with that.

I also always tell my boys that I am proud they told me the truth, because I understand how very difficult it can be.

Rather than focus on reducing the number of instances your child lies, why not focus on increasing the number of times he tells the truth and celebrate it? Then telling the truth will be a joy to him rather than simply a way to avoid a negative consequence. Especially when, considering he's a boy, you stress to him how courageous and brave it is to tell the truth.

I think this article has some good insights into what's going on in children's minds concerning telling the truth:

http://parenting.ivillage.com/tp/tpbeha ... kl,00.html

I don't necessarily agree with everything in it, but the overall tone of it is on track.


We praise for truthfulness frequently, and don't freak out about it when he does lie. His lying has nothing to do with us freaking out or him trying to get out of consequences because he doesn't trust us. We adopted him a little over a year ago, and we soon found that he lies just to lie. He'll make up something just for the thrill of lying and getting away with something. I'll give him an opportunity to explain himself, and ask if he's telling me the truth or if he's just having fun and pretending, and quite often he'll say that he's telling the truth, even when it's something really silly that is clearly a lie.

He's not stupid. He's not underdeveloped, and is not confused about the difference between truth and lie, real and pretend. It's getting better, but still, sometimes, the times he chooses to lie are kind of bizarre! I'll check out the web site you mentioned.
Thanks.
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Re: Teaching Children That Lie

Postby noble1 on Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:57 am

Persistence and pray are what pays off. I pray that my children would not choose to align themselves with the father of lies. Stormie Omartian has a great book "Power of a Praying Parent." In it there are scripture verses for all sorts of things related to family and helping kids to grow up God's way. I did one time use vinegar on my son's tongue because he talked back to me and its really helped curb that issue. He's 11 now, almost 12 and even though lying is a "sometime" problem I am quick to turn it into a Bible lesson and show him God's ways are higher and with that comes great reward if we honor and obey not only God but the parents He gave him to care for and raise.

I think parenting is absolutely the hardest job ever!!
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
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Re: Teaching Children That Lie

Postby kazbo on Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:43 pm

We praise for truthfulness frequently, and don't freak out about it when he does lie. His lying has nothing to do with us freaking out or him trying to get out of consequences because he doesn't trust us.


I'm sorry, smackbucket, I wasn't trying to imply that you weren't/were doing those things. I was beginning to write of things I knew in theory, then remembered I should only write what I know from personal experience, so I wrote of my own experience with my two boys. I was thinking more of what *I've* done that what *you've* done. Forgive me if I caused offense.

So....I don't have any personal experience with the sort of thing you describe exactly :grin: It would be interesting for you to choose a quiet moment with the little guy, perhaps when you're working together on something completely unrelated, and ask him why he lies. I wouldn't ask in a general way, but remind him of a specific instance - what he said, what you said, etc., seeing if he remembers the situation first, and then ask him why he said what he did. His answer could be revealing. Hopefully he doesn't just say "I dunno..." :wink:

At the same time, you could tell him, "I want to help you tell me the truth all the time. How can I help you do that?" and see what he says. I'm always amazed at how kids seem to know exactly what they need if we only ask them.

[and I'm not saying you don't ask :wink: I'm just sayin']
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Re: Teaching Children That Lie

Postby smackbucket on Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:06 pm

kazbo wrote:
We praise for truthfulness frequently, and don't freak out about it when he does lie. His lying has nothing to do with us freaking out or him trying to get out of consequences because he doesn't trust us.


I'm sorry, smackbucket, I wasn't trying to imply that you weren't/were doing those things. I was beginning to write of things I knew in theory, then remembered I should only write what I know from personal experience, so I wrote of my own experience with my two boys. I was thinking more of what *I've* done that what *you've* done. Forgive me if I caused offense.

So....I don't have any personal experience with the sort of thing you describe exactly :grin: It would be interesting for you to choose a quiet moment with the little guy, perhaps when you're working together on something completely unrelated, and ask him why he lies. I wouldn't ask in a general way, but remind him of a specific instance - what he said, what you said, etc., seeing if he remembers the situation first, and then ask him why he said what he did. His answer could be revealing. Hopefully he doesn't just say "I dunno..." :wink:

At the same time, you could tell him, "I want to help you tell me the truth all the time. How can I help you do that?" and see what he says. I'm always amazed at how kids seem to know exactly what they need if we only ask them.

[and I'm not saying you don't ask :wink: I'm just sayin']


No apology necessary. I understood you weren't saying I was doing those things. HOW COULD YOU? You don't know us. :) If I freak out...it's on my wife! :) When I've asked why he's lied about silly things that don't matter he says because it feels good to trick us. I think there's some sort of sin thing going on inside that makes him want to "one-up" us to make himself feel like a big guy. I don't have it all figured out, but whatever the case, I'm praying God will tenderize the little booger's heart, and that we can build a strong relationship that won't have to disappear when he becomes 13 or 14. I'm actually glad we're getting started at the ages of 39 and 43 instead of 20-something. We don't have rose colored glasses, and we've been around enough to have watched many parents make good and bad choices that we've been able to learn from. But no matter how old and "wise" you are, parenting for the first time is a challenge! I like it!
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