“How can I get my kid to stop lying?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My 8 year old lies.  Alot.  Sometimes it's about minor things like if he's finished the chores or not, other times it's about more important things (did he do his homework etc.).

How can I get him to stop lying?

Brad in Delaware"

Dear BiD,



Lying is one of the worst sins in MamaBear's book!

I had the same issue with HS2; from the ages of 6 to early 8 or so, he'd every now and then just flat out lie.

Really dumb lies too, like what you describe (those are stupid lies because you can easily check up on it).

Here's how I dealt with it…perhaps it will help you too.

Step 1.)  Explain in detail to your son that you *know* when he is lying, so lying is simply pointless.

Actually, it's pretty easy to tell if your kid is lying to you via his body language – watch how he breathes, where his eyes look, etc. 

And when you instill in him that no matter what, you *will* know the answer…it at least gives him pause.

Step 2.)  Explain in detail the consequences to lying.

And make them painful too.

When I caught HS2 in a lie, I would immediately implement the consequences. 

  • It might be writing 120 times, I will not lie. 
  • It might be playing 52 pick up 17 times.
  • It might be immediately cleaning his room, the kitchen, the laundry room, etc.

Whatever the consequences were, they were meant to cause distress and discomfort so he would remember them.

Keep in mind, of course, it takes several repeat experiences for the lesson to sink in!

HS2 would lie, get punished, and then sometimes months would go by until the next slip.  But every time; there would be consequences.

Step 3.)  After doing the consequences, sit, cuddle and *talk* it out.

Make no mistake about this….this is one of the most important steps!

Kids lie for a multitude of reasons…you want to understand just what caused this lying to happen.

  • It could be they wished things would be different, so they pretended they were.
  • It could be they were mad at something else, and took out their anger on you.
  • It could be lots of reasons!

With HS2, the reasons generally were:

  • He was afraid of the consequences so he lied to get out of them (but ended up having them doubled).
  • He was ashamed of his actions and lied so I wouldn't find out (I did)
  • He didn't think he could make things better, so he lied to pretend they were (they got worse).

One of the best tips I learned regarding lying was to tell my kids,

"When you lie, you dishonor *yourself*.  You're better than that!"

I'm big on respecting oneself, you see.  🙂

So…apply the above 3 steps, and see how they help.  I'll bet you'll see improvement soon in the future if (and only if) you're consistent about it.

Thus speaks….MamaBear

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