Nothing disturbs the inner peace more of a parent than to catch one’s own child lying. It creates doubt and fear in the hearts of parents knowing that a child found it necessary to purposely hide the truth. Catching a child lie is not resolved in any way by parents going into panic or punisher mode. There are better ways of doing it which will ensure that children and parents learn from what appears to be a negative experience.
Children are Generally Truthful
Adults should be very familiar with the candidness and truthfulness of young children at the risk of exposing their own half-truths. Most of the time, it can be very funny when children expose things for what they really are since they only speak of what they see and know. Children generally do not lie unless they think they have to and this is where parents should be able to guide them as much as possible.
Children get their cue primarily from their parents. They tend to imitate adults so it would be wise for parents to be very cautious of how they deal with their own declarations. In some cases, children lie under threat of harm so parents should be very sensitive in detecting anything unusual in their child’s actions.
No Need to Hide the Truth
It must be made very clear to young children that there is no need to hide the truth even under unpleasant circumstances. Fear of being reprimanded or punished is of course foremost in their minds. Parents will need to explain in a level that young children can understand that problems are easier resolved when the truth is known.
Issues as simple as accidentally breaking a toy or more complicated like taking money without permission may encourage a child to resort to lying. In their young minds, not admitting to the fault may be the simplest step to take. Some cases “justify” lying but this are more for social purposes like avoiding hurting someone else’s feelings. These lies are often called white lies because they are not intended to deceive but rather to prevent unnecessary ill-feelings with others. Children will require more coaching in this area.
What I Did
Faced with the same dilemma of having caught my own child lying for what I saw was a very small matter, I talked to my child. I asked her why she thought she had to hide the truth from me. What she said touched my motherly core: “I didn’t want you to love me any less that is why I didn’t tell you I dropped my new toy and destroyed it in the process.”
I assured her that my love for her will not get any less even with more earth-shaking revelations. I did tell her however that it is possible that I may get angry and upset in some instances depending on what has been done. Most importantly, I asked her to trust me with the truth because a parent only desires the best for his or her child.