At some point in life everyone has lied. It doesn’t matter who you lied to or what you lied about, the fact is we have all done it. Maybe we lied out of fear? Maybe we got away with a lie and felt that it was a good way to handle a stressful situation. Kids lie about all sorts of things. For most kids lying is like a coat that they try on and take off when it doesn’t fit. For others it becomes more of a lifestyle. How do we get kids to stop lying, while simultaneously building a trusting relationship where they feel secure in their actions and words?
Over the past few weeks I have followed other bloggers and family professionals. I would like to showcase some of their ideas as they relate to this blog and the families that I professionally support. I feel that their work goes hand in hand with my own and that they bring clarity to specific situations while offering concise strategies.
Dr. Bryan Post of the Post Institute has worked with families that have adopted children from abused and neglected situations. His breakdown of why kids lie and how to handle a situation is very closely related to my own thoughts and process.
- Kids often lie because they feel stress, fear, confusion, or are overwhelmed
- Look to the emotion behind the lie to determine the cause
- When you determine the underlying emotion you can ignore the lie and help the child deal with the emotion
- When a child lies, check your own level of stress to handle the situation calmly and effectively
- The goal is to build a trusting and secure relationship where your child feels that they do not ever have to lie
What to do when you are in the situation
- Check your stress level: are you able to approach your child in a calm and controlled way?
- Approach your child and let them know that everything is going to be ok and things will work out.
- Walk away and give your child some space. Allow them to process your words and body language.
- Come back to them after some time and let them know that it hurts you when they lie. Tell them that they can always trust you and that their safety and well-being is your priority.
- Let it rest.
There is no need to bring up the lie, because it doesn’t matter what they lied about. Becoming upset about the lie teaches your child to become a better liar. What matters is that your child knows that they can come to you when they are feeling stressed, sad, angry, overwhelmed, etc., and that you will help them through their emotions.
This video by Bryan Post plays out this situation and shows you how to approach your child when they lie. If you have caught your child in this situation, it is worth taking a look.
As you may have noticed I will be cutting down on the number of posts per week. I would like to spend less time blogging and more time with my clients. As always, if you would like my support or strategies for a handling a difficult situation please contact me directly.