Thoughts on Lying

I was reminded recently through a conversation that lying can be a perplexing and stressful part of raising our children.
Many of our children, though they may even be teens and tweens, are behind developmentally, and lying is a part of what they do, by habit.
Lying for absolutely NO reason, is not uncommon.

If you are experiencing this, do not despair. Instead, learn about what is going on underneath the surface.

Lying can be a habit formed from early trauma. It can be something that was TAUGHT TO our children by unhealthy bio parents or even within a foster or orphanage system.

In some countries, lying is NORMAL…..?? yes it is. Hiding the truth, being mysterious about what you are doing and outright lying, are all part of unhealthy societal cancers.

So what do you do?
First, understand your child’s mindset. While we can see that black and white, “lying= bad, lying= deception”….
our kids see “lying=protection, lying= life or death, ”

They are many times NOT seeing it as a “moral issue” but a “protection issue”.

IF you were in Nazi Germany and the police came and you hid a family, would you tell them “yes, they are hiding in the wall?” Or would you say, “Nobody is here?”

That is the type of lying our kids see. EVEN when it is not necessary for survival. It is how they are wired.

The trick is to get them OUT of the lying, and into a place of honesty and exposed truth. This requires TRUST.
It requires them to be “exposed”; their hearts, exposed!

1. MIRROR to them what you want them to mirror.
SO, DO NOT LIE yourself. Do not tell them to tell somebody on the phone that you aren’t there, even if it is a sales call.
Do NOT let them hear you say, “Oh hi, I didn’t get your call, when everybody knows you DID, you just didn’t answer.
ALWAYS be honest. “I did get my bill in the mail, but I failed to mail it ontime, I’m very sorry, can you please take that fine off of my account?” “I’d really appreciate it.”

2. Do NOT put your children into a place of lying. Do not “corner” them where they have to fight for their life in their little minds.
If you KNOW they did something. ( example cookies on face and chocolate chip cookies missing)
You can say, “I see you ate the cookies we had planned for desert. It is best to ask before eating. We plan to have x for desert tomorrow.”
And that is IT.
You have just helped them see that
1. They will not die when exposed.
2. You are not mad at them.
3. If I eat the desert now, I won’t have any later.
4. There will be desert tomorrow.

ALWAYS ALWAYS offer warm expression, warm hands of love. Do not fold your arms or tap your foot in disdain.

“Since you hit your brother, let’s find a way to apologize.”

We had a daughter who was stealing from our jar hidden in the closet where we used to keep loose change and sometimes added dollars.
It was a family jar that was added to and when it was full, we would count the money and do something fun as a family. One time we went to Great Wolf Lodge for a night.

Our newest daughter, Sweetie 4, helped herself to that money …. hundreds of dollars missing.
I wasn’t SURE if it was her, but nobody had ever stolen before and money was missing from siblings purses and my purse.
I emptied the jar (which was not easy to see so you had to reach behind some sheets to get to it, and left a note in the jar. “Please stop stealing”.

Well, obviously she got the note, and we found some Russian money in the jar. LOL
(her way of trying to make up for what she did without saying anything.”
Then, I knew.

And then we had the talk….
Now that the money is gone, it is so sad we can’t do anything fun with it.
She did wind up confessing.

This is so counter intuitive to what we want to do….

Also, scaffold your children with loads of analogies and stories about telling the truth and the rewards of honesty.
Tell them stories of being honest. Tell them stories of the rewards of being honest, and also about the consequences of not being honest in life.

Also, if your child is much younger emotionally, you can teach them the difference between the truth and a lie by playing a game. We used to do this with our girls.

“Mom went the the store to get groceries and I rode a giant pink elephant!”
“Mom went to the store and drove the car.”
Which is true?

make up all sorts of things for fun, and then make it harder and harder for them to guess…..It is VERY helpful to a child who needs concrete examples of truth and lie.

We did this for YEARS. The girls loved it.

I also did this with our Awana Sparkies.  It was a game they loved.

Is the book “The Never Ending Story” real or fiction?
Is the book “The Story of Jesus” real or fiction?
etc. etc.
You can use all sorts of things.
You can use “fake fruit, that LOOKS real, vs. Real fruit and let them tell the difference.
Your homes are OPEN SEASON for life lessons that will carry them through ALL of their lives.
You would be surprised how much they take in, even when you don’t think they are listening.
I am experiencing this now within my own family with our girls now all being older.
It brings joy to my heart to hear them repeat what they learned long ago….and live it in varying ways now.

Fill your home with love and teaching, and they WILL learn to tell the truth and that they will NOT die if they do. 

1 Responses to Thoughts on Lying

  1. Erin J says:

    So good. We have a little one that does this, and yes, it’s survival. But slowly, slowly, her heart is learning a new way. I love your practical suggestions. 🙂

Comments warmly welcomed!


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