To stop your child lying, firstly, challenge the lie gently but firmly.
If your child is telling you about a fantasy story, sometimes it’s ok to say ‘that sounds like a great story.’
However if your child is lying to avoid conflict, challenge them. Saying: ‘That doesn’t seem likely; I’ll be checking that out. Is there anything you’d like to change about what you said?’
Or ‘That sounds a bit doubtful. See if you can tell me again and stick to exactly what happened.’
If you absolutely know your child is lying. Say ‘I’m going to stop you there. I know the truth. Now I’m waiting for you to be brave enough to tell me what really happened.’

Secondly, later, ask questions about the importance of telling the truth.
Ask your child:

  • Why do you think people sometimes tell lies?
  • If someone told you a lie, would you believe them the next time they told you something?
  • Why not?
  • What if they really were telling the truth the second time?
  • What do you think you’d feel if you found out one of your friends had lied about something?
  • Would you like that friend more or less?
  • Why do people sometimes end up telling more lies after the first lie?
  • Why is it sometimes difficult to tell the truth?
  • Why do you think telling the truth is important?
    And tell your child how you feel if you’re lied to: Hurt, annoyed, saddened, let down, and disappointed.

Finally, make it easier for your child to tell the truth in future. And there are five parts to this:

  1. Have a family rule saying: ‘Always be honest and tell the truth, even if it’s hard.’
  2. Plan ahead what the consequences should be for someone telling a lie. Perhaps doing a big cleaning job together. But explain a bigger consequence is that once trust is lost, it’s very difficult to earn it back again.
  3. Don’t try to catch your child out. If their room isn’t tidy don’t ask ‘Is your room tidy?’ Say instead: ‘Please tell me when your room is tidy.’ Or ‘I notice your room isn’t tidy, when are you planning on tidying it today?’
  4. Make sure that when your child is honest about something you say: ‘Thank you for being honest. I’m really glad you told me the truth.’ And
  5. In the same way, you need to be very careful to be totally honest and truthful yourself.

So to stop your child lying 3 tips are:

  1. Challenge the lie gently but firmly.
  2. Later, ask questions about the importance of telling the truth.
  3. Make it easier for your child to tell the truth in future.

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If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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