It’s not strange if our kids lie to us, after all, every one of us does, at least, in some way tell a lie. However, the intensity and repercussions of lies differ. As a parent, we may have told our toddler kids that “Uncle Freddy is watching you”, to encourage them to sleep, or how tooth fairy comes to take their teeth to grant them a wish. But when kids do the same with their parents, the consequences are not the same.
The question is: why do children lie? [Spoiler: Because parents’ behavior is what makes them lie].
The impression that we have of our kids, the perfect one, it sets very high standards for kids to be the best in front of their parents. And in the alternate case, kids can take advantage of their parents when they are defended against the whole world. We fight with the school administration, piss off coaches, ruin friendships, relationships, burn bridges and even cause a conflict with anyone that comes around our kids. The message that we are sending to our kids is very loud and lucid—keep lying to me, because I will always believe you!
However, if we have had chosen a different course of action, like that of detectives and police officers, who “get the confession”, then we could have got the truth out of our kids before they embarrass us in front of the whole world.
How to get truth out of your kids?
You can’t just expect them to spat out everything by simply asking “What happened”. It won’t work that way, and therefore, you need a foolproof technique. Try some of these tips:
- Let your kids have some time to make a story. So never start with “What happened”, because that wouldn’t give them any time to make their story “presentable”. It may have some parts of truth and some fabrication, but that’s alright, because everyone has it’s own perception of reality.
- Share a story first. To make things more comfortable, start with with a scenario that your kid can relate to, and what you are emphasising to address.
- Don’t make them feel guilty absolutely. Let them have some space, even if they are found guilty. Tell them that they are not a bad person and anyone can make a mistake. This kind of rational behavior will make them stronger.
- Look out for the discrepancies. From the first time they narrate something to the last time you talk about it, look for any discrepancies and take note of them.
It’s normal if you defend your kids till the very end, but this is not the only way to make your kids believe that you love them. It’s hard to even imagine our kids lying to our face, but if we are not telling them what’s right, we are doing them a disservice.
Tell your kids that it’s okay to make mistakes, but taking responsibility and being accountable for your actions is the first step towards coming clean.