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Parenting a Habitual Liar

by Tiffany Raiford

When it gets to the point that you doubt the truth of anything that comes out of your child’s mouth, it’s time to intervene. Parenting a habitual liar is challenging, but the effect of constant lying is even more detrimental on your child's life. It won’t take long before his peers, teachers and family realize that he lies habitually, which will result in a loss of respect and friendship, and many other problems.

Understanding What is Behind Habitual Lying

When it comes to lying, just about everyone does it. You might tell a little fib about traffic being terrible when your boss catches you walking in late, even though you’re late because you just couldn’t decide what to wear. According to an article at the Empowering Parents website, understanding the reasons your child might lie will help you deal with the issue. Some of the most common reasons kids lie is to get out of trouble, to avoid hurting the feelings of others, to make herself sound more impressive and to benefit in some way. For example, your teen might lie to you about studying at the library when she’s really out with a boy because she knows you will not allow her to date.

Don’t Believe Your Kids’ Lies

When your child lies to you, and you recognize that it becomes habitual, don’t even pretend to believe the lies no matter how much you want to, advises Phil McGraw, a TV talk-show host and mental health professional, writing at DrPhil.com. You might want to believe the best of your child, but when you know he’s prone to lying, you just can’t. For example, when he asks you if he can stay the night at his friend’s house Friday night, make it a point to call his friend’s parent right in front of him to verify that his story is true. When your child sees that you're onto his lies, it might encourage him to stop.

Intervene

According to the Empowering Parents article, one way to deal with your habitually lying child is to intervene. The best way to do this is to calmly sit her down -- with your spouse, if that is an option -- and tell her that you have evidence that she’s been lying to you regularly. Explain to her what you believe to be a lie, what you believe to be true and any potential evidence you might have to reinforce your beliefs. Tell her that her lies are making it difficult for you to trust her, to treat her with respect and to treat her like her age. Ask her to explain to you why she feels lying is the best course of action and inform her that anytime you catch her lying, she will be required to suffer a consequence. You can ask her to help you create consequences for her lying or you can present her with a list of your own consequences so she is aware of what will happen if she lies.

No Labels

Don't call your child a liar or a habitual liar, McGraw advises. When you label a child, that label stays fresh in his mind and he might begin to believe that it is true. If you tell him he is a liar, he might start to believe that you believe he is a liar and you will always believe he is a liar, which means he has nothing to lose by lying.

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