Posted by Barack Levin on 16th July 2011
I think that every parent comes across this problem: kids lie to him, to their friends, relatives, teachers and every other adult they meet. My kids are no different, especially my boy. He is now 7 but around 4-5 years old, he started with this terrible habit.
We have friends who encountered the same problem with their kids. They tried everything in their arsenal: time outs, talks with him and even spanking. Nothing helped. They asked for some help and I told them what we did when we faced the same problem.
If you read this blog, you already know, that my methods are fairly different than the conventional ways out there; however, my methods are simple, to the point and work on the kid’s psyche. The child learns through his experiences and feelings how to change his behavior. When it comes to uprooting a behavior such as lying, I have a very simple but extremely effective trick that always works.
Think about something that your kids loves, not something big like a bike or a visit to the zoo, but something smaller like may be a toy that he likes or ice cream. Tell your kid that you decided to take him in 3 days to this favorite place, but do not stop at that. Build the excitement. Every day mention it some more. The day before the event, make sure you mention it several times a day, point out the exact time you will be going and what things you will do together over there. The day of that event have your child prepared and ready. Remind him again and again and build that excitement. Eventually, at the time you promised him you would leave and once he is all ready to go, call him over, sit the both of you on 2 chairs, look him in the eye and tell him: “We are not going. I lied to you” and be quiet. Let him digest the news. He would probably be quiet for a while digesting the bad news, he might cry, blame you for not being a good dad and may be even throw some tantrums. Let him be for a while. When he calms down, look him in the eye again and ask: “Tell me what you feel”. He will. Let him go on and on about his feeling and how he thinks you are a bad dad who does not keep his promises. When he calms down again tell him: Do you see how you feel when I lied to you? This is exactly how mom and I feel when you lie to us. Do you think that this should be the way we all lie to each other?”
What you did in this short session was to invoke his inner thinking. He now feels what it means to lie and he does not like it. He will now associate his feelings with what others might feel when he lies to them. If he continues with his behavior (and most chances he will because it is hard to stop), take it to the next level. Run this exercise again but with something slightly bigger this time. It usually takes 2-3 tries to get to the final results so do not give up easily.