'Ideas for Raising Successful Children'
Dealing with children's lies
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[APRIL 1, 2005]
like our daughter is constantly lying. She hasn't started school
yet, but we'd like to know how to put a stop to this now -- before
it does become an issue at school. What makes her tell lies? And
what can we do about it?
Preschoolers are known for stretching
the truth. Many children under 5 are still learning the difference
between fantasy and reality, and their imaginary experiences are
real to them. They enjoying telling tall tales and pretending. If
your 4-year-old tells you that she saw a huge monster in her room
last night, should you point out that she's not telling the truth?
Probably not. She's not trying to be dishonest or defiant.
There are times, however, when young
children know they aren't telling the truth.
One reason is the desire to please
their parents, rather than actually "doing the right thing." Another
reason children do this is to avoid punishment.
Sometimes our behavior as parents
actually encourages lying. There's really no need to ask, "Who broke
the vase?" or "Who spilled the milk?" if the only ones in the room
were your daughter and the pet canary. (You can almost expect that
your daughter will answer, "Not me.") Instead, ask, "How did the
vase break?" and talk about how she can help you repair or replace
it. Or, "It looks like there's been a small accident. Let's get a
cloth and clean up the milk."
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column in this article]
with lies requires parents to react carefully. Here are some points
to keep in mind as you help establish honesty with your daughter:
- Try to understand the reason for
- Remain calm. Talking with your
child is the best way to help her understand the importance of
- Talk with your daughter about why
it's important to tell the truth. If she's old enough to
understand, you may want to tell her the story of "The Boy Who
- Look for examples of lying in TV
shows, books or movies. It may be easier to talk about what
happens to a character than to talk about a real person.
- Use reasonable consequences. Fear
of severe punishment can encourage lying.
- Reward honesty. Tell your
daughter that when she tells the truth, she will benefit from it.
For example, when she admits she misbehaves and apologizes, she
might receive a lesser punishment.
- Let her know she's being
disciplined for the deed and not for telling the truth.
- Tell your daughter that even when
she makes mistakes, you still love her.
* * *
For more information about helping
children learn or to submit your own question to The Learning
Advisor, go to
http://advisor.parent-institute.com. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
© Copyright 2005, The Parent
"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful
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