There are many reasons why we do or say things the way we do. The truth makes some of us uncomfortable. It is said “truth hurts”. However, it is always better for us to be 100% real with each other than to pretend. That is if we want to form long lasting relationships built on trust.
On the other hand, think about your day-to-day life. How often do you lie? How often do you think you are lied to? Call it lying or being untruthful, both are the same. A lie is a lie is a lie.
One of the biggest lessons to learn is to protect your heart. Share it but protect it. Deception and betrayal are real.
When you catch someone in the act of lying how do you feel? It’s easy and natural to feel betrayed, hurt, and/or angry. How about when a child lies to you? The feelings echo the same sentiments. But want the honest truth? It’s normal and typical to lie.
Everyone lies at some point; however, we do have the choice to be truthful. When you want to get off the phone you may say something like: “I have to take this other call, it’s urgent” or “I have a meeting in five minutes”. How about minimizing something such as running a red light as you are pulled over for it. Why do we do this? In the depths of our being, we are hoping to get out of paying the ticket. Most of all, when we lie we want to get out of or away with something.
It all comes down to solving our problems realistically even if it hurts. Hurting is good if it is equivalent to growing pains. We need to teach and guide children to face the problem and solve it, not find a way to get out of problems or find excuses for them.
We wonder why children lie. The answer is the same as why adults lie in general.
- To avoid hurting someone else’s feelings- white lie
- To avoid getting caught or getting in trouble- not so white lie
- To get attention- white or not depends on the situation
- To get out of doing something that we do not want to- white lie?
- To lead separate lives- not white at all
- To establish self identity or pretend identity- not white at all
When addressing lying with children, don’t make things complicated. Understand the underlying cause and address the root cause of it.
- Be specific about the situation (Don’t beat around the bush)
- Be simple, clear and direct
- Assure them that honesty is valued and lying has more negative consequences than the mistakes themselves.
- Don’t close up, always be open
- Do not argue
- Give a consequence if a natural one did not present itself
- If you give a consequence, ensure it connects to what happened (for example, if she lied about doing her homework and instead played video games, state you will not be able to play your video games especially not until homework is complete)
We all have values. Many people talk about honesty but the reality is that many people lie. It’s a problem that can be solved by modeling honesty and integrity in every way of being. It is about walking the walk. Action speaks louder than words.
In the meantime, we can teach and coach our children to show others who they really are with courage and integrity. We can teach them to own their mistakes and learn from them instead of covering them up or running away from them. This is the way we can make a change. Now and in the future.