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How to handle children telling lies?

Date: 22 Dec 2015    Group: Family & Life    Category: Parenting   

I am very worried for my only child, a 10 years old girl. I don't know how she has learned to speak a lie. A few weeks ago, she had promised me that we won't speak lies again. But she still speaks and I catch her every time. Not only this, she also took false swear of her idol. She purchases useless things or games on her own (without asking or telling me), tries her best to hide it, and when I ask her that from where that item came from, she simply says that it was kept here or there in the home. I even doubt that she has stolen some money from my wallet.

What should I do? I am thinking to take professional advice from her school counsellor. I have always taught her to be true and honest. We try our level best to fulfil her demands. But we are not so rich to waste our money on such useless and needless items.

Worried about your child constantly telling lies? Quick expert help is available on how to deal with this problem.

Author: Vandana    25 Dec 2015      Member Level: Platinum     Points : 20  (Rs 20)    Voting Score: 0

At age 10, your daughter is likely to be more aware of right and wrong than she was earlier. Yet, she will lie, probably because she is either trying to seek attention or is picking up cues from the behaviour of people in the family. It could be something really simple. For example, if you receive home delivery service and pay Rs.1 less, telling the delivery boy that you do not have change when your daughter knows you do as she has seen the coins in your purse, you are conveying to her that it is Ok to lie. Or let's say you are worried about somebody's ill health and your daughter, seeing your worried face asks why. You will likely say, "Oh, nothing dear, I am fine." You obviously do not want to share your worries with a young child, but why not at least tell her "Your aunty is not well, that is why I am worried."

It is also possible that you are constantly telling her, when you catch her out, "You're a bad girl" or "You're a liar". This, in fact, is likely distressing her as you are shaming her by saying so. It will hurt her, make her angry & induce her to lie more. Instead of pointedly labelling her thus, you could put it in some better, indirect manner. For example, you see some item that you had not seen before. You could say, "Goodness me! Now where on earth did that come from? Did Santa drop it in through our windows?"

I am also curious to know how is it that your daughter purchases things on her own? Are you allowing her to shop on her own without an adult accompanying her? Also, are you giving her pocket money to spend on her own? Perhaps it would be wiser not to since you are finding her spending on useless things. If she is indeed taking money unknown to you from your wallet, then this is something really serious. Tell her that she can come to you directly if she needs something, but do not accuse her of stealing if there is no proof of it. Possibly some other family member gave her money for example?

I would strongly advise you to have a heart-to-heart talk with her, better without anybody else around. Don't stand and talk to her. It creates an impression of a dominating stance over a cowering girl. Instead, sit next to her, with your arm around her or just hold her hand. Ask her gently why is it that she feels she should lie when she can trust you completely in the same way that you trust her. Do not raise your voice or get angry. Explain to her, too, that it is not right to say take God's name to swear that she is telling the truth. If you, too, have the habit of saying things like "God promise....", then stop doing so.

Also, let her know that if she lies again, she will have to face what will happen (do not call it a punishment as such), such as not making her favourite dish or cancelling her TV watching hour. If, on the other hand, she tells the truth, reward her with a smile and a hug and tell her, "I am happy".

Have a talk with her Dad too and perhaps it would be good if he talks to her also separately. Dads and daughters are known to be very much closer!

It is important to explain to your daughter the difference between need and want. Does she really need so-and-so item or is it that she simply wants it for no reason? Do not give in to her demands. By doing so, you are only encouraging her to ask for just about anything whenever she feels like it. Try to explain, too, about money - that it needs to be saved, that you cannot really buy things every now and then when it is not really needed, etc. Don't say either things like, "We will buy it later". Be clear you are not going to buy it. Be firm and be clear on what it is necessary to buy.

One final bit of advice: do take time to have one-on-one talks with your daughter. Give her your sole attention. No ringing phones, no distractions. Just "mom-and-daughter" girly chats.

Author: [Anonymous]    25 Dec 2015      Member Level: Diamond     Points : 0    Voting Score: 0

I did the task you have suggested in the fourth para. We both are fine now. She said she has not stolen any money rather she had had it from her great grandfather.

She purchased unnecessary stationery items like diaries, white board type of toy for little kids, business game (she already have one but she still purchased another to double the money cards). I try my best to teach her the value of money. But I shall teach her the difference between need and want too.

Thanks for your suggestion.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha    25 Dec 2015      Member Level: Gold     Points : 5  (Rs 5)    Voting Score: 0

At some point, I think , the closeness between you and your daughter has been distorted and the same needs to be restored to normalise the relationship. Of course, she promised not to speak lies but it did not work since she felt insecured by uttering the truth.
At this stage, enough tolerance is required from your end to tackle the situation. Let her realise that no one but you would come forefront in the event of distress. A natural bondage between you and your daughter would be helpful in the normalisation of the relationship.
Family - environment plays a crucial role in shaping the personality of the peers and they are the silent spectators of the situation. Any lie uttered from your end before the public would create a wrong message to your daughter and especially when no proper explanation came up to satisfy her curiosity. We need to take caution in our conversation and any aberration in the same may be the root cause of her departure from the normal behaviour.
A slight change in your attitude so that she feels secured would change her mind definitely but at the same you need to show all your love and compassion to her.

Author: jenny    28 Dec 2015      Member Level: Gold     Points : 7  (Rs 7)    Voting Score: 0

First avoid giving money to the child to buy things. Educate the child in telling that lying is a bad habit. Do not keep money in reach to the child. Slowly control giving the money. Anything that she needs to be bought by you.

Make her understand that unnecessarily buying things is waste, make her realize that. When she has money find out the source how she got and tract the information to know if the child has told the truth. At times elders too make mistakes in analysing the situations.

Also take care to see that if the child doesn't get money, she may not choose other ways to get money from different sources. Make her understand that lying is a bad habit, by telling her stories and making her watch good moral value videos.

Encourage the child to read moral value books, gift her some books. You can read them to her.

Encourage the child to be friendly with you and not to hide anything from you. Do not create fear in the child this makes the child to hide things from you. Be positive in guiding, her good behaviour, do not be harsh.

Spare time for her, be affectionate towards her, when children are distracted and not getting much attention towards them they tend to go out of way. Ask her about her school, her friends her day in the school and other things that's related to her studies and keeping advising her about good behaviour.

We need to be constantly reminding children about difference between good and bad behaviour. It would take some time. You can involve her father also to give attention towards her. This will make her to be bonded to the family members and would prevent her from doing things that are not desired.

Author: hemant    29 Dec 2015      Member Level: Silver     Points : 4  (Rs 4)    Voting Score: 0

After great suggestions I like to add little, it is a fact, she is quite young to understand the morality and truth in mannerism, also as you mentioned she is asking money rather than stealing which shows she is at least aware of stealing as a bad habit.
It is not a big deal if she find something attractive even if its of no use to her in this age, what need to be done is make her understand the importance of usage value over the looks or appearance of any object and this need to be done with utmost care. Often child of young age take advice as lecture or prohibition. Most importantly you fulfill her genuine and required demands and appreciate her if she compromises in her demand, also appreciate her when she avoid not necessary expenditure, this will boost her saving habit and develop honesty and most importantly her habit of choosing only required stuff.
As she is quite young punishment can also work to lead her to disciplined life but at the cost of innocence and child emotions, Also there is a risk of her getting emotionally detach from you. If you feel punishment is required go for punishment which includes you as well, this will generate a feeling of guilt in her and increase bonding between both of you.
You can also punish her, again if required, by giving her some creative work which she will enjoy and can be appreciated later.
One more fact , as she is your daughter you are best person to think good for her. Believe in yourself and involve your heart rather than your mind while dealing with her.
Wish you great bonding with your daughter in future.

Author: MANISH KUMAR    03 Jan 2016      Member Level: Silver     Points : 3  (Rs 3)    Voting Score: 0

From your query, it appears that your child is in bad company who provide her moral support otherwise it is not possible after promise how she swear her idol.
If you want to stop her telling a lie then for the present time you should identify her company then only you know where the problem.
But from your query one more thing appear either you are very strict to them because demand for different items from a child is very common but stolen money and then purpose item without telling you look odd if you are friendly with her.
For get rid of speaking lie , you should become friendly with your child because today's environment is very competitive and a child easily irritated with misbehave , so it is better to understand her requirements and convince her if things not so important .
And one more thing never speak lie in front of her because majority of time a child follow parents behaviour.

Author: Archana Kapoor    04 Jan 2016      Member Level: Gold     Points : 3  (Rs 3)    Voting Score: 0

At such an age if she is doing such things then she is definitely in a bad company. The children between the age of 6-12 are very innocent and fast learners. Whatever they see in their surrounding they immediately take a note of it and try to do the same things on their own. She might have seen or learnt such things from her friends or seniors in school. You should keep a watch on her friends and keep her away from such children. Try to convince her by giving small rewards to her. Like if she will quit telling lies or stealing things you will buy her a new dress or some toys. But don't over due this otherwise she will develop a tendency to do everything after receiving anything in return.
Give a small party and tell her to invite all close friends. You can then analyze what kind of children she is with.

Author: gsadhiks    07 Jan 2016      Member Level: Silver     Points : 5  (Rs 5)    Voting Score: 0

By reading your query its not surprising that your child is telling lies. Her age itself is like that, the child's brain is fully not matured to do wrong or right, they will be fickle minded by the surrounding ideas, because now a days the surrounding environment itself is like that.
First you stop her from taking swear on idols, because children itself are god and they will not know what happens if take a swear on idol, they think that idol don't speak and it will not tell us whether the child is speaking truth or lies. Instead whenever your free you tell her some good moral stories. Where your child will start having positive attitude.
Secondly Check her company in school and tell her to learn good things from friends, because mostly children are bound to learn good or bad habits from friends.
Finally don't buy all what she wishes, because sometimes when we are not able to buy as per their wish they become aggressive and very possessive about their wish has to be fulfilled. Buy some toys or game which gives knowledge to their brain.
But taking her for counselling will not help you more because mother is the first and best teacher for children. Take Care that your child is comfortable to speak with you, where it shares all kinds of feelings to you. when ever she lies and you come to know about it don't hit her or scold her instead tell her the effect what happens by speaking lies. But I agree at certain situations we parents must be a bit firm with our children for their own good, but not always.
Lastly I wish to Say that Mother plays a very important role in upbringing the child. Now a days surrounding environment and television serial channels are so bad that they teach the children how to learn all kinds of bad habits. So take care what channel and serial your child is watching.
Hope This would be helpful to you.

Author: T.Krishnamoorthy    15 Jan 2016      Member Level: Gold     Points : 5  (Rs 5)    Voting Score: 0

My advise is that do not send your daughter to purchase anything from the shop at her own. Many children do such mistakes when they are allowed to go to shop and purchase some needful things. At this tender age they don't know what to do and what not to do. They like everything whatever displayed in the showcase of the shop. I think she has given the freedom too earlier to go to shop. Obviously, children will attract towards colourful things. So, we cannot blame the child. Child learns everything from the surroundings only. Spend time with here as for as possible and at the same time it is also the responsibility of the family members. You have not mentioned about the mother's role. Her role is most important in developing desirable qualities in the child.
You can give reward to your child not in the form of money but in words like very good, wonderful etc whenever she admits her mistake. By encouraging for admitting mistake she will not do any mistake in the future. One thing we must remember why a child tell lie? it is because of fear only. After clarification if you find lie from the part of your daughter then you try to get the reason behind the lie in low voice. When she reveal the true then congratulate her for saying true and love her instead of beating or scolding. At the same time say 'I love you, you are the best daughter' because you have said the true. By doing so, child will believe telling true is the right way. As vandana said family members should also not tell lie in any occasion even the matter is so least, in-front of the child.

Author: Partha Kansabanik    15 Jan 2016      Member Level: Diamond     Points : 3  (Rs 3)    Voting Score: 0

My suggestions are simple:-

(a) Give her mild punishment if you catch her telling lies.

(b) Strongly discourage her to swear allegiance of her Deity. You may also involve other family-members (your parents and your spouse) in this regard.

(c) Give her some amount (very little; say Rs. 5/-) and allow her to purchase some items which she likes.

(d) Carefully monitor the activities of her friends and discretely try to understand whether they encourage/ask her to take out money from your wallet.

Author: Pappu Das    26 Jan 2016      Member Level: Silver     Points : 3  (Rs 3)    Voting Score: 0

She is buying items which she likes.
Those are her needs.

Those are not useless items.

Those are the needs you should fulfill for her.

She is lying because she is scared of falling in trouble since you taught her all the negative effects of telling lies.

There is no need of duplicate parents called "Counsellors".

You are the original counsellor.

Don't scare your child.

Persuade her.

The best ways to handle her is loving her, persuading her not to take away money without asking you.
Tell her that if she needs something, she should frankly tell you without being afraid of you.

Author: Juana    10 Mar 2016      Member Level: Diamond     Points : 20  (Rs 20)    Voting Score: 0

I understand your concern, but I also feel you are overreacting. It is a good thing that you are worried and are taking steps to guide your child. However, your approach appears to be wrong.

Understanding the difference between need and want is too big a concept for a 10 year old. Even adults struggle with it – don't you think your expectations of a 10 year old are too much? You expect a 10 year old to value money like an adult – to think and act like an adult – is that even practical!

You wonder how she learned to tell lies – Have you asked yourself why she NEEDS to have to lie. For a kid her age, stationery, board games and other miscellaneous toys are invaluable possessions. She buys them because she finds them attractive and feels a need to own them. She hides them from you because you think they are worthless purchases and for the fear of being chided. She lies to you because she doesn't know how to let you know, she really wants to possess those items and perhaps out of fear.

Making your child swear on an idol over matters that can and must be resolved through proper parenting is taking it too far. I am not judging you here, but express my view based on knowledge, having counselled students and parents in the past. Please avoid resorting to such tactics, instead talk to your child. Your actions will only alienate your child. A child does not need to be treated like a criminal and made to take oaths and vows etc to prove their innocence or make promises. Become someone your child can come to, without hesitation. Close the gap that has inadvertently got into the parent-child relationship.

My first reaction to this post was that you're making a big deal of this episode. I hesitated in responding to it, because of fears that I may offend you. However, after much deliberation I realized that you are seeking help and there is no harm done in letting you see the voids that exist in your relationship with your child. A few of your actions stand out as 'not so good' parenting –

1. You thought she stole money, which turned out to be a gift from her great grandfather. Did you not know that she had received money? As a parent you should be aware of any gifts the child receives.
2. You mention she buys various items. Do you not monitor her activities and not know when she visits the store? How is she bringing the items into the house without you noticing?

My sincere advice to you is to please be aware of all happenings in your child's life, whether it is her receiving gifts or visiting the store, alone. As a parent of a girl child (especially) you have to be careful about these things. This has got nothing to do with her telling lies, but more to do with her safety.

Please keep communications channels open. Your 10 year old should feel comfortable discussing everything, with you. The fact that she hid purchases she made from you, shows lack of communication. Your child should be discussing everything freely with you, especially an only child. With no siblings, you must act as her confidante.

What I suggest you do is allow her to buy what she wants, under supervision. You can give her weekly/monthly pocket money which she is allowed to spend as she wants, but with your knowledge. If she wants something that cannot be bought within the money you give her, ask her to save, so she can buy it at a later date. This will inculcate the habit of saving in her and also understanding the real value of money. Your talks on value of money are going to have very little impact on a 10 year old. She will grow up thinking you don't want her to have things, but when she is allowed to spend money in a controlled manner she will better understand its value.

When she is making these purchases ask her why she wants them, whether she'll use them or if they'll just sit around in the house. Gently suggest things that you think would be better – a book maybe or a board game that could improve her memory or analytical abilities. Don't let her know her choices are useless – you'll be killing her confidence. Don't push her to buy what you want, but explain the benefits of the same.

Explain to her that you should know when she wants something and you will buy it for her if you can afford it and if it is really needed. Tell her that she is too young to be buying things she wants, on her own. Give her the freedom to buy what she wants, but with your knowledge.

Lastly, know that your child is lying to you because there is no communication. Psychologists say and I believe that a child who lies is an intelligent child- for the child is thinking of repercussions her actions will have and is finding a solution to avoid them, the brain is working. Nevertheless, another factor that needs to be considered is that your child is not confident in the relationship she has with you and has to lie to you.

Spend time with your child to strengthen the bond. Talk to her, play with her, tell her stories and do other activities with her. Children make mistakes and they learn from these mistakes. Don't treat her mistakes as serious crimes, reason with her, explain and let it pass – but always be aware of what is she is doing, without making it obvious.

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