Why does your child lie? For the same reason as you do: to escape being caught, to avoid disapproval, to maintain peace.
When a child lies, it is transparent and obvious, and all the more disheartening, leading the parent to think where they have gone wrong.
However, if you as a parent are able to recognize the fact that your child being dishonest and is lying, then the earlier you start correcting her, the better it would be for her in the long run.
Children who get away with being dishonest often become better at it when they become adults, and it is up to you to know when your child is lying, so that you can adapt corrective measures, and the earlier the better.
Here are some tips for you:
- Make sure your child knows that you know that she is being dishonest, and that you love her still. Separate the lie from the act, and tell your child that you know mistakes will happen everywhere, and that nobody is perfect. Tell her that you too make mistakes everyday, and that you are far from perfect, but you are not dishonest. Tell her that to face what she has done is a far better idea than for her to hide away from it. This can be one of the first valuable lessons in life for your child.
- Try to handle the situation in such a way that you help her find a solution to the problem, rather than accuse her of being dishonest. For example, if you saw her breaking her sister’s doll, instead of saying, “Did you do that?” you could say, “I see that it is broken. Don’t you think you must make it up to her?” Then, sit down, involve her, and find a solution to the problem. This way, you can avoid your child having to be dishonest about breaking the doll, and at the same time, you are encouraging her to take responsibility for her actions. She will realize that you do not like the behavior, and that you like her still.
- Try not to let her off the hook for what she has done. This will give her the wrong idea that you will take up the blame for her actions. Instead, try to explain to her the consequences of her dishonesty, like her sister feeling hurt, someone else being accused for what she has done, and so on.
- Most importantly, reward her for her honesty when she tries to not lie. This way, she will be encouraged to keep on doing the same thing; after all, her parent approves, so why not continue the same behavior?
Catch your child at the right age, so that honesty is ingrained as far as she is concerned. Above all, you as a parent must set an example for her by being completely honest and truthful in whatever you do.