How To Teach Your Pre Schooler To Tell The Truth

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Toddler & Bubbles

Photo Courtesy of **spaceMonkey**

So your beautiful toddler goes off to the day care center and at pick up time the teacher tells you that your child has been caught lying. Embarrassment, anger, and frustration may start to creep in your mind, but my advice is relax! Chances are your child has lied at home, and even if he or she hasn’t you should not worry because this is an age appropriate reaction. Children at the mere age of 3 begin to understand how the world works around them. Part of understanding what that means is, figuring out that there are certain ways to get out of trouble! Of course they are going to try to lie to avoid being disciplined! It is how you react that will make all of the difference.

Here are a few tips to help you through:

*Don’t overreact. If your child lies at school chances are they have already faced the consequences of their actions. Its enough just to discuss with the child what occurred and express your disappointment. Let them know that everyone makes mistakes and that you can understand. Make it clear that although you are not happy with the mistake they made, what upsets you most is that they lied. This will reinforce the teacher’s punishment. Also let them know that the next time they lie in school you will be forced to add an additional consequence at home.

*If the lie occurs at home, then do not accuse the child of lying. This sets up the child to engage in an argument and lie even further. Instead stick to the facts (example: Timmy you say you didn’t color on the wall but I see your crayons, the wall colored, and it’s your height can you tell me how this happened?). If the child continues with the lie after you have pointed out the facts, let them know that you are disappointed that they did not tell you the truth. NEVER ACCUSE YOUR CHILD OF BEING A LIAR . It teaches them that you don’t trust them and creates such a negative connotation that you will be engaged in battles with your child for years to come. You want to teach your child that lying is wrong, not that they are bad for lying. Once your child has admitted the truth let them know that their mistake was just a mistake, but it was the lying that made it worse. Then let them know that while they have to fix their mistake, they need a consequence for the lie. I find that having the child help pick that consequence usually makes it more effective!

*Explain to your child what lying is. Let them know why it’s not okay to lie, and how people perceive them when they do. Read stories (i.e. “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and “Lucy Tells Lies”) that discuss lying and show consequences. This will help your child understand the consequences of lying. Above all, don’t lie to your child! You are the example that they look up to. They need to trust your word and believe in you. If you don’t lie to them, eventually they will see that lying is wrong.

Remember, even though you may do the steps, your child may continue to lie and you may have to repeat these things all over again. The point is to keep the lines of communication open. Your child needs to understand that even if you have to have the ‘lying talk” with your child repeatedly you will. As long as you’re stern but loving with your child, eventually this lying phase will pass, and your child will learn that it is better to tell the truth! So hang in there!

See Also:

Children And Lying from American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry.
Getting Honest About Lying from IVillage
Three Lies Children Tell…and What You Can Do About Them
Telling lies: Info for Kids
Speaking To Your Child About Uncomfortable Topics…
When Is Your Child’s Behavior Inappropriate?

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