Lying is Unacceptable

May 9th, 2012

by Katrina Brooke

One of our Facebook friends wrote, “Is lying about brushing your teeth something to drop for my 11-year-old son? As we are pressing into the teenage years I am questioning what is worth not letting go because it is still lying which I don’t want to condone.”
Lying is unacceptable and wise parents don’t ignore it or condone it. The wise parent does two things about lying.
Very few humans, including adults, are like young George Washington in the cherry tree story. Most people, including children, tend to lie to protect themselves. If the youngster didn’t brush his teeth, and the parent asks, “Did you brush your teeth?” the answer will probably be a lie. So, why ask in the first place?
A better approach might be to say, “I hope you’re protecting your teeth by brushing. I’ve been a little worried for you since I pay for the good dentist reports and you pay for the bad ones. I hope you get a good report from the dentist.”
And yes, a Love and Logic parent would have the child pay for the bad report. We don’t make hollow threats. Remember that sincere empathy precedes the consequence. “How sad, a bad dentist report. Do you want to use your allowance money or what? Could you use a hug?”
In the event that a child tells a lie, the generic Love and Logic consequence, called the “Energy Drain” technique, can be used.
“Son, I know that you lied to me about talking back to your teacher. That’s not acceptable in this family. I spent a long time on the phone talking with your teacher about your behavior, and didn’t get my own work accomplished. I’ll let you know later how you can replace the time and energy I used up dealing with this.”
This boy can do some housework to replace the parent’s “drained energy.”
You can hear more about dealing with this problem on our audio CD, Childhood Lying, Stealing and Cheating.
Thanks for reading, and remember that the child’s job is to test the limits, and your job is to enforce them.
Jim Fay
Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
©2012 Love and Logic Institute, Inc.
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