Alan Kazdin, the director of the Yale Parenting Center, offers this advice, “The most common reactions to children who lie are explaining why it is wrong and punishment. As ways of changing behavior, these are ineffective.” The better way? Ask your child to tell you something that is true, and then say, “That was great! You told me what happened just like I asked. Wow!” Be sure, according to the Yale Center, to follow up with a hug or high five.
Here’s the problem the Barometer sees right out of the blocks: If you don’t punish your child for lying, how exactly would you know when he/she is telling the truth? The absence of punishment is license. The presence of license is more lying.
The Yale Center is correct about one thing — children lie if they see their parents do it. Let children see you in action when the stakes are high and you too tell the truth and try to avoid the following:
1. Lying to relatives to tell them you will not be at home to avoid a visit.
2. Saying you are sick to get out of work, parties, meetings.
3. Telling someone they look okay and then later saying (in front of the child), “Wow! Did you see him? He looked like a zombie!”
4. Not taking items back to the store when you did not pay for them (we assume it was an oversight, but even for intentional theft — probably a good idea to take it back and pay).
5. Speeding and then telling the police officer who pulls you over that you were not.
6. Saying that your child is under 5 in order to get them in free at the buffet.
7. Taking deductions on your taxes when you know they are not truly deductions and then bragging about it at home.
8. Not disclosing defects in items at your garage sales.
9. Claiming the better pair of sunglasses from the lost and found at Disney World. This was after lying about your kids’ ages to get them cheaper tickets into the park.
10. Changing the date tags on bread bags in order to sell the older bread without a discount.
All real. All confessed to the Barometer. Oh, and the list goes on. And we wonder why our children lie.