I know lying is normal, but I am at a loss for how to respond. My 10 year old keeps lying.
Today, I could tell she was hiding something in her swim bag, so I asked her what it was. She said she'd taken some of her own money out of her piggy bank so she could get a snack at the pool. She's supposed to ask first. When my husband got home, he went to put his change in his change jar and could tell some money was gone. My daughter went in there and shut the door to talk to him, was lying about it, but I went in there and learned that she had taken his money, not hers.
She got water on the bathroom floor, and when I asked her to clean it up, she said she didn't do it. Of course, her and I being the only ones in the house, I knew that she had done it. Finally, she said that she was trying to clean something up and stuff got away from her.
She says she's scared to tell me the truth. Often, the truth wouldn't even be something she would get in trouble for, but the lying is. Like the water on the floor, there was no reason to lie about that.
I've talked to her the importance of trust, but she just keeps lying. I've tried natural consequences and less than natural ones, bu she just consistently lies. And she's not very good at it (although, who knows what all she lies about that I don't find out!)
How do I help her to tell the truth?
I have strong opinions about this. I was one of those kids who lied, poorly, even when it wasn't necessary. I'm 40+ and I still don't know why I did that, though I was a little afraid of getting in trouble with my mom, too. It also had to do with learning to take responsibility for my actions, probably.
You're right, it's normal to some extent. It's a phase for some kids that they're just going to go through. So don't panic. Keep your eye on your relationship with your daughter.
I've had good success with my kids by responding firmly, consistently and with a sense of humor. I really think that combination is helpful! I can give my kid an exaggerated beady eyed look with a smile and say, "Really?" when I know he's lied. He blushes, tries to keep from laughing and confesses.
Confronting him, paired with a sense of humor, gives him an out, which can be really helpful.
It looks like you don't particularly set her up to lie to you, which is really good. Sometimes parents ask, "Did you do this?" when they already know the answer.
Someone moved my effing cheese.
My DD went through a lying spell at 6 and then again at late 13. My DS's worst period was age 6 but it still pops up at 10 (though not too frequantly.) We found two things helpful. For starters, real, tangible consequences. We were a family that just talked things out and since that was enough to change the behavior, never went further. Still, we found our kids would still fly into a panic at the possibility of "getting in trouble" and thus lie to cover it up. We decided they needed tangible consequences to stop them from imagining the horrors that *could* happen if they messed up. Yes, losing computer priveledges suck but it's not like we stopped loving them or something. It really did make a world of difference.
Secondly, when we suspect our child (particularly our DS) is lying we always give them a second chance to tell the truth with no consequences for lying the first time. I tell them to leave the room, take a deep breath and really consider what they want to tell me. This usually gets the truth out of them but I have to work hard not to respond to the lie they told first even if I'm fuming over it.
I like that!
Someone moved my effing cheese.
We were a family that just talked things out and since that was enough to change the behavior, never went further. Still, we found our kids would still fly into a panic at the possibility of "getting in trouble" and thus lie to cover it up. We decided they needed tangible consequences to stop them from imagining the horrors that *could* happen if they messed up. Yes, losing computer priveledges suck but it's not like we stopped loving them or something. It really did make a world of difference.
Oh interesting thought. I've been struggling with my 11 YO for the last year about lying about school-work. I'm not a "punishment" type of parent, but he seems to be terrified about what will happen if I get mad at him for something. I can not understand the terror and maybe you just hit on it. Since we are 1 week into the new year and he's already behind on his homework, and lying about it, maybe we should re-evaluate our policies. Thank you for giving me a new insight/idea.
Holly and David
Adaline (3/20/10), and Charlie (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)