How to get your child to stop lying

How to get your child to stop lying

Does your child look right into your eyes and lie to you, and you can totally tell they are lying? If you’re a parent I’m sure the answer is yes.

Yep, we have all been there ourselves as kids also, right? We have lied to our parents or other adults because we didn’t want to get into trouble right? 

We know that our kids know right from wrong and that they shouldn’t lie because it’s just going to get them in more trouble right?

Well, there are many reasons why kids lie, and we will talk about that and also how we can get them to stop lying to us.

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What to know about when kids lie

I want to start this by talking about the word lie or calling our kids liars. These words are judgment words, they are not what our kids actually are. So that being said, when we use these words, we create these beliefs about our kids and those beliefs come with thoughts and judgment which leads us to be reactive because we have labeled them and that is now how we see them. And it’s blocking us from seeing what is really there. The reason behind their lying, or really any behavior. 

Your kids aren’t out to get you

First and foremost it’s important to know that there is no bad child. They are learning, exploring, and developing. 

A key, is to understand that there is always something underneath your child’s behavior- always. 

If we go at it head on trying to talk them out of it, trying to put reason to it or manage them it really leads to a dead end, causing them to become distant causing more uncomfortable feelings that is causing the behavior in the first place.

When we start blaming them and shaming instead of understanding the situation, they feel even more misunderstood, alone, like we are against them, disappointed and that puts more stress on them. 

When they aren’t being fully understood those feelings pile onto each other and they don’t really know why those feeling are there, how to really express them or and how to tell us about them, they are feeling discomfort and this is the only way they know how to get that out of them so they don’t feel uncomfortable anymore.  

Connect before correction

You’re outside in the backyard and you see on of the windows to the basement broken. You know that your child was playing around there so you ask them if they did it, and they say no. Now you’re angry because you know that he did and don’t understand why they are lying, possibly even laughing.

A common response to this is we start yelling at them to get them to tell you the truth, you tell them to go stand in the corner because they are lying and they broke the window. They start crying and screaming saying they didn’t do it, they are crying because they have to stay in the corner. Then we might say “well if you told me the truth you wouldn’t be in trouble, and if you didn’t break the window you wouldn’t be here right now.”

I’m sure this scenario sounds familiar.

When we see or suspect that they are lying sure it makes our blood boil. However, our reaction will determine if they will tell the truth or not. Or our past reactions will determine that too, they remember getting in trouble and what happened so they try to avoid it by lying. 

When we yell and hurt them in the past they are trying to avoid that being done to them again by lying. 

Sure we can punish them for what they did, but it’s not solving anything. It’s not getting to the root of anything. 

They will just continue to find a way to go around your back or be so scared of you they live in fear so they don’t do it again.

I don’t think as a parent you want them to obey through fear. 

*Side Note: if your child laughs while you are upset, they are not doing it because they are brats and think seeing you is funny. What is going on is it’s a natural reaction of the nervous system. By laughing they are trying to keep themselves from feeling fear, it’s a way to keep them calm and not scared, and it’s completely normal. 

What really is behind their behaviors?

It’s so easy to look at a child and think wow, he/she is a brat, or defiant. Again these are labeling words, what you think about your child is what your child will become. 

Your child is not their behavior, they are just trying to express what is going on and they don’t have that ability yet from the ages of 0-7 your child lives in the emotional part of their brain.

At the age of 7-12 children move into the middle brain where they access the emotional regulator sensors. They learn how to understand feelings and needs, but this is just starting to happen, that part of the brain is not fully developed yet, and won’t be done until around the age of 25. 

Adults and teens think differently because adults think with their frontal cortex of the brain. 

So, that being said, they may know what they did was wrong but they are still trying to get a need met, it just might be in a way that isn’t necessarily their best way. 

It’s important to first understand why they did what they did or didn’t do. 

Try to keep calm when you have discovered something they did, if you feel like you are going to explode let your child know that you are angry at the situation and need to cool down, then once you’re calm approach the situation again. 

It is obviously normal and okay to be angry or whatever feelings you are feeling. Our goal here is not to suppress our feelings, but to not project them onto our kids. 

There is always an underlying emotion under anger, so right now you think you’re angry at your child, but really it’s something else, possibly fear, confusion, sadness, loss.  

Connection before correction

Connect with them then let them know why those boundaries are in place, and see how else you can work together to get those needs met.

Yes, I’ve yelled and punished them for lying. It takes a little work to gain your trust back. 

I promise them I won’t get upset, that I just want to know what happened. When I’m calm they feel comfortable they open up. 

If I hold up my promise that trust will rebuild. 

Feeling defeated in your parenting?

My intention with my content is not to shame or criticize your parenting. That is not what I do. I am here to help you find peace, joy and calm in your parenting. I love educating and supporting parents just like you, because I too know what it’s like to be at the end of my rope and become an explosive mom. Now I get to help moms and dads find that peace in parenting to really be able to find joy and love in your everyday parenting. 

If you are tired of feeling defeated and overwhelmed in your parenting, and long to finally find joy as a parent, then I invite you to a coffee chat with me to see how I can best support you. 

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