No parent wants to believe their child would ever lie to them, or anyone, ever. But unfortunately, it’s going to happen. Perhaps even more than you think, but there are ways of handling it that make the situation better.
Every action has a consequence. Whether or not that’s good or bad is out of our control most of the time. Regardless, there is one factor in the lying game we can control.
Imagine for a moment the types of responses that come to mind when your kid lies to you. One of the most immediate responses is to punish. It seems right, but when you really pay attention to your intuition, it doesn’t feel right. Maybe that’s because it’s not.
Punishment merely teaches a child how to lie better. Think about when you were younger and would get caught and punished for your crime of choice. Caught lying and got grounded? Well, that’s a great lesson to become a better liar. Caught stealing and had a toy taken away? What a better incentive to practice the trade that just lost you that toy. In general, punishment is more adept to encouraging more sneakiness and cleverness.
Love and Logic teaches something else, and it’s one of the best pieces of advice on the market today. It’s called Natural Consequences, and it works from the age your child can understand it all the way through senior adulthood.
In regards to lying, Natural Consequences can be related to trust. If your kid is lying, you can naturally conclude that you cannot trust him or her like you thought you could.
Realizing that someone can’t trust you may actually be and feel even worse than being lied to. In order for a child to understand this though, it has to be communicated.
Your child is smart. They understand how much worse it feels to not be trusted than it feels to get denied freedom for that special Saturday night. However, the tool to teach that lesson may just be... not getting to go out saturday night because they are untrustworthy. But again, that needs to be communicated or the lesson is lost. Focus on the trust, not the punishment.
Every kid will be different. For some, this tactic might turn that behavior around quick. Others, there’s no telling.
One of the biggest factors that plays a major role in this type of response is your emotion. It might be hard to believe, but you can control it. In turn, you will control your response. If you feel you can’t control it, Love and Logic says to press pause on the situation. Calmly tell your child there will be a consequence, but don’t hand it out yet. Let them know you’re thinking about it.
You can bet they’ll be thinking about it too.