#018 How to prevent our children from lying, denying, sneaking or bragging?
How do we encourage our children to be honest with us?
How do we make it safe for them to come to us when they do something wrong or mess up?
How do we make sure they grow up to be adults who take responsibility for their actions?
There are lots of different types of lies
It is helpful to remember to come from a place that your child is a good kid. It they are struggling, let’s look below the surface and see why. What is driving that behaviour?
So that’s the thing, we as parents have fears as parents about lying. That affects how we respond to our kids. We are often coming from a place of worry and fear.
Important to take a reality check at this point and remember that adults lie all the time. When was the last time you told a social lie to get you out of something or a white lie to your child?
So it can be confusing for our children. On one hand we might tell them “you know you can tell me anything”. But we have to back that up with our reactions when our kids do share something with us - no matter how big or how small.
If we have a big reaction or even a subtle reaction - our kids pick up on that and they will change their response next time.
The most important thing for a child is our love and approval. If they sense we don’t approve or we’re going to withdraw, then they panic and don’t think well.
So if your child tells you something, or isn’t able to own up to something. If they do something wrong, take a breath and try not to overreact, remind yourself they are a good kid doing their best.
I try to respond by saying “I’m really glad you told me that, now we can figure a way to sort it out together. It’s always better to tell me when something goes wrong so I can help you”
There are a few different types of lies. Let's look at them and the needs underlying them: 1. Deny doing something Often when a child denies something, we want them to admit to it - too much pressure on them, afraid of losing our approval or love
2. Fantastical, exaggerating. Often the unmet need is seeking attention
3. Sneaky behaviour eg taking food, sneaking screen time. The unmet need is not feeling safe to tell us how much they want something
4. Not telling us they did something wrong - eg. spilling cereal down the wall when they aren’t meant to be eating in their bedroom - Often they are afraid of the consequences, high expectations of letting us down.
5. Pretending they’ve done something when they clearly haven’t Eg yes I tidied my room (when they haven't). They might feel overwhelmed, weight of expectation, afraid to ask for our help
6. Bragging - competitive, child wants to be seen as good.
What can help:
How we respond in the moment Or if we overreact we can repair Don’t back them into a corner Special Time - build up the connection / level of attention / approval can do forbidden things Setting limits calmly and with connection Being willing to listen to our children’s upset Listening time for us - so we can respond kindly
Thanks for joining me. If you’re ready to get your kids listening so you don’t have to shout, and instead you can start enjoying being a parent, then get signed up to my next virtual Peaceful Parenting Masterclass.
Pamela Quiery Parent Coach Providing local services in Belfast, Northern Ireland and online around the world. ☎ +44 7450203275 firstname.lastname@example.org