“The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in those who tell the truth.”
(Proverbs 12:22 NLT)
Moms, lying is a BIG deal! Often times we excuse our children’s lies when they are young because, “they’re only lying about little things” or because we are just too tired to deal with something that doesn’t seem like a big deal in the moment. But lying is a habit that becomes more deeply ingrained in your child’s behavior each time they do it. The longer you let a lying tongue get away with lying, the more hardened your child’s consciousness becomes. How many times has your child lied to you about washing their hands before dinner? Or making their bed? If they get away with ‘little’ lies like these, they will have learned that lying is a great tactic to use to get out of doing something they don’t want to do.
Even if your child is 3 or 4 you need to call them out when you catch them in a lie. And you need to give them a consequence severe enough that they pause the next time they are tempted to lie. You can also help your young child be truthful by re-phrasing questions they might be tempted to answer with a lie. For example, instead of asking, “did you wash your hands?” when they come out of the bathroom, say, “ooh, let me smell those clean hands!” This gives your child the opportunity to confess they didn’t wash them, or to turn around and go wash them without being tempted to lie. You can use this with many situations; “show me how neatly you made your bed!” instead of, “did you make your bed?” and “let’s look over your math homework together,” instead of “did you finish your homework?”
Teaching your child to be honest is hard work, especially if your child is lying because they don’t want to get into trouble. But if the consequence for lying is more severe than any trouble they may get into for telling the truth, they will choose the truth. Our kids are smart! Don’t make lying an attractive option by letting it slide! Encourage your child to be truthful by explaining to them that you want to always be able to believe everything they tell you, and that lying breaks your trust. Then come alongside them and reward them when they are honest in tough situations. If possible, lighten any consequences when they are up front and honest about a wrong thing that they did and praise them for not hiding it from you.