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7 Tips for Raising Kids Who Won't Lie to You

7 Tips for Raising Kids Who Won't Lie to You

7 Tips for Raising Kids Who Won't Lie to You

Circle of Moms member Sarah is concerned that her daughter is lying to her. She writes, "It can be over the littlest things or it can be bigger things like when she 'borrowed' money from my wallet without telling me. We are consistent about punishing her when she lies, but I’m concerned it’s getting out of control."

Sarah’s frustration is understandable. There’s nothing as unnerving as knowing your child lied, whether it’s about a candy bar missing from the pantry or an F on a test.
And addressing the problem of lying isn’t easy, either, as there’s no one thing you can do to make the problem go away, including using punishment. In fact, punishment will only make things worse—which is probably why Sarah hasn’t seen any improvement. 

Read on to find out why punishment isn’t the answer, and get some solutions that really will help you create a safe environment for the truth. 

1. Watch how you respond to your kids when they misbehave or make a poor choice.

Even adults will lie to protect themselves from punishment or an unpleasant outcome when they do something wrong — so why should we expect anything different from our kids? Work on using a "calm voice" to address bad behavior and avoid punishment and lectures, so your child will feel safe telling the truth. 

2. Shift to solutions.

Emphasize ways to fix the situation or misbehavior. Instead of demanding, “Who tracked mud all over the floor?” which is ripe for a lie, say, “What can we do to get this cleaned up?” This allows the child to constructively save face — and you can bet that after wiping up a muddy floor, he’ll remove his dirty shoes next time.

3. Ask instead of accuse.

If you catch your child in a lie, work on figuring out why she felt like she couldn’t tell you the truth. You can gently say, “That sounds a bit far-fetched. You must be worried about telling me what really happened. Let’s talk about that.” By opening the conversation this way, you’ll get the real story — and information that can clue you in on how to get her to demonstrate honesty in the future.



4. Encourage honesty.

Whenever your child tells the truth about something difficult, commend her. “I bet it was hard to tell the truth. You really showed some courage. Thanks for taking responsibility.”

5. Make the most of mistakes.

Kids who aren’t yelled at or punished for messing up will be more likely to admit it when they do. And when they fess up, turn the mistake into a learning opportunity. Invite your child to brainstorm ways he could handle the situation differently if he had a “do-over,” and, if someone else was affected, encourage him to “make it right.” 

6. Love unconditionally.

Your child needs to know that while sometimes you don’t like her behavior, you’ll love her no matter what kind of mistakes she makes. Make every effort to show her, and she’ll be more likely to open up. 

7. Watch your own “white lies."

Your friend might not know that you don’t already have plans Saturday night (and can’t babysit her two-year-old,”) but your child does. When you let a “white lie” slip, your kids think they’re acceptable. You’ve heard it before: set a good example!

By creating a safe environment for the truth in your household, you’ll see a lot more honesty. Better yet, you’ll be helping your child develop the kinds of character traits that will serve her well throughout her life.

Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the author of If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. For easy to implement strategies for happier families and well-behaved kids, follow Positive Parenting Solutions on Facebook.

"Pay It Forward" to a Military Family
Amy McCready is partnering with Blue Star Families in an initiative called “Pay it Forward Parenting.” For every book purchased, McCready and Positive Parenting Solutions will donate an online parenting training course to a deserving military family. For more information on this charity initiative, visit


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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