Per The Yale Parenting Center: Don’t Punish Your Kids for Lying

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.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD.

The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards.

Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader’s Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio.

She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News.

In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles.

Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.

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