How to Stop Your Child Telling Lies

father talking to son

Robbo and Becci caught up with Brett and Kate Ryan, from Focus on the Family Australia, to get some tips on what to do when the kids tell lies.

Brett says that lying can quickly become a bad habit. “We often measure the degrees of lying by telling an untruth that is not the full picture.  But lying is not a thing we should ever create a habit of. In reality there are no degrees, we are either telling the truth or not.”

Kate believes that telling half a story and letting people fill in the narrative is still breaking trust. “We always want to be people of integrity,” she says.

Brett continues that you can leverage lying as a parent to teach your kids to have that level of trust with you and also with their friends. “There are so many reasons that our kids lie. Sometimes its personal because they want to be accepted, or its simply because they want people to like them.”

Kate says if kids start lying young and it’s not picked up on, it can lead to a lack of integrity as an adult. “How far do you push the boundaries in the workplace to get that promotion, or to get ahead? We have to be careful that we keep on the right track and pick up lying early. We don’t want our kids to sacrifice their integrity for the sake of the truth.”

Brett and Kate Ryan
Brett and Kate Ryan

Brett says that often children lie for attention, or because they don’t want to get in trouble.

I think it’s important to dig a little deeper to find out what’s going in their world. We need to know what prompted them to lie.

Kate’s advice if you catch your child in a lie is to take a few moments and come back later to talk to them. “Tell them it’s not ok but take the emotion out of it. You want to talk to them about why, but they still have to face the consequences. I used to tell my kids that God knows everything, and your sins will find you out!”, she says.

Brett shares a story about a time when one of his sons lied. “It took about a week until he confessed. His conscience got the better of him, and we commended him for telling the truth. This was a great way for us to develop character, trust and integrity in him.”

Kate says that consequences are definitely better than losing trust. “It’s important that we teach our children that balance.”

Head to families.org.au to read more great articles and advice from Brett and Kate and listen to the rest of their chat with Robbo and Becci below.

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