Below are 12 easy ways to ensure that you will maintain a healthy and honest relationship with your child:
1. Keep communication open. Designate time, every night, when you and your child can talk about the day’s events. Discuss parts of your day at dinner time, bath time, and bed time.
3. Be proactive. Discuss the meaning of truthfulness, honesty, and sincerity. Discuss why honesty is important at home, in school and in the community. Teach The Boy Who Cried Wolf principle (a very effective moral lesson).
4. If you catch him/her lying, sit down and have a serious talk. Remove all distractions and give your undivided attention. Tell them you need to understand why they lied, and have them walk you through what happened or what they were thinking.
5. What are alternatives to lying? Share with them what you might do instead of lying and model it for them.
6. Make sure your child knows that you understand them – you’ve been a teenager too. Show them you can relate by making statements that reflect the feelings behind what they’re saying.
7. Give them the right to not tell you everything. What is acceptable to be kept private and what is not?
8. Make sure they are not lying to cover up another serious problem. Explain how this can turn into a vicious cycle and how they can get themselves into even more trouble this way.
9. Insist that your child take responsibility and apologize when it is due. Some children lie for the purpose of avoiding responsibility, so this is an important skill to focus on.
10. Use self-admittance and repentance as your course of discipline if lying is a new problem for your child, letting them know what consequences will follow if the behavior continues.
11. End the conversation on a positive note whenever you can. Is there any part of their decision, action, or feelings that is praiseworthy? Was there any good intention that they could pursue differently next time?
12. If lying becomes serious and pattern-forming, parents should consult with a professional counselor in order to understand and correct the lying behavior.
References: American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, November 2004, No. 44
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