Wednesday, March 18, 2009


In the last couple of months, my son has become a quite proficient liar.

Did you hit annika?
No, she's screaming bloody murder because she hit her head.

Did you go potty?
Yes, I went two minutes ago. (funny how I didn't hear it and his pants are still zipped up...)

It started slowly with teeny lies and now we are up to 3-4 whoppers a day. I can usually tell when he is lying, but man....what to do.

I think I found a solution today, but I'm wondering what others have done....grandparents, parents, people who think they know exactly how they will parent someday.....

It's the whole catch 22
a) you're only 80-90% positive he is lying so its scary to just accuse him and go based on that.
b) if you get him to admit he is lying, and he tells the truth, how do you deal with punishment/rewards? Still needs a punishment for doing something wrong and lying about it, but on the other hand, a reward for finally telling the truth.

Argh. What have I gotten myself into? Can I just say this is 10x harder than training horses or dogs? : )


Sandy said...

Grandma here. I have no advice! This was always the most frustrating behavior and we always told the kids that the punishment would be double for lying. Can't remember what age they were when we told them that and certainly can't remember how effective it was! All parents have these issues to deal with and somehow we muddle along and get beyond it. It's kind of cute when they are Saben's age, but you certainly won't like it when he is 14!! Good luck...and I'll pray!

D said...

Besides the punishment part, which is up to you and Kyle, I appreciated the advice to pray that you will very obviously catch him in the lies so that he knows and you know. Same with sneaky behavior.

Jen said...

When I was older in like 5th grade I had to write bible versus about lies, cheating and what not...may be at this age more of an award system.

Stickers on a calendar, marbles in a jar for each day he goes without a lie.

TheFiveDays said...

No expert here, just my couple cents to throw in the ring!

At his age I think I'd go with reinforcing the truth and letting the behavior go. If it's a behavior that is not tolerable (hitting Annika, say), then don't ask him if he did it. Just give the punishment. Rely on your instincts about whether he's guilty or not...probably more reliable right now than what he tells you! LOL!

Also, something you can do is to stage events so you know for sure whether he is lying and he learns that YOU KNOW ALL. This sets up teaching opportunities at your convenience.

So...when you KNOW he hasn't or has gone potty in the past 5 minutes, ask him. Leave something out that he knows he isn't supposed to play with...then watch where he can't see you to see if he picks it up or not. THEN ask him if he did.

I've learned this from Jacob's behavioral therapy...when you are having issues with a behavior, it is easier to set up opportunities you are in control of rather than wait for ones to crop up where you are unsure.

Hope that makes sense. Good luck in any case!!