With their innocent and imaginative nature, young kids resort to lying for a variety of reasons. When confronted, they can come up with clever reasons just to protect themselves from any agreed punishment. For these kids, it may not always be their intention to deceive their parents. Sometimes they may just find themselves in circumstances when they feel the need to vindicate themselves, or they may lie just to attract more attention from their parents.

During these instances, it is important for parents to recognize that although it can be quite entertaining to listen to their lame excuses; it is already the opportune time to teach them about the right behavior. When I first learned that my daughter has been cleverly making up stories, I really found it hilarious. But because I did not teach her that lying may create bigger problems later on, she felt that it must be alright to lie every now and then.

Parents need to set the right example so that kids can adopt honesty. When you don’t fulfil promises or when you don’t honor your words, you are showing your kids that it’s alright to lie. Bear in mind that childhood is crucial because it is the time of character development. The habits that children learn during the formative years may have some influence on their behavior later in life.

Hence, make sure that you set clear expectations so that you can fulfill your promises to your child. These may be small things but it is a very clear example of how you can promote honesty. Explain to your child why honesty is important and cite concrete examples. Be creative by telling stories, playing games, or doing other fun activities, so that your child can understand the importance of honesty in different scenarios. Make sure that you explain the consequences of lying so that you can guide your kids in making the right decisions.

It is also good to properly respond when you catch your child lying. A considerate conversation may be more beneficial as compared to a confrontation that can only instill fear.  A supportive environment is ideal because it promotes the right behavior in an encouraging setting.  Instead of criticizing, examine why your child is repeatedly lying. Explore the reasons so that you can address the root of the problem.

Kids may need time before they will learn the importance of honesty. But when you frequently reinforce the right behavior, you are bound to get positive results. If you feel that your child has resorted to chronic lying, and that you have exhausted all efforts to help him out, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Children are smart beings, and they can be taught the right behavior through proper supervision. Before you react negatively to your child’s lies, turn it into a teachable moment. It is through these moments with my daughter that I have come to appreciate her innocence and her inherent goodness. She showed me that it wasn’t really her intention to tell lies because she never realized what lies were in the first place.