Jun 28, 2012

Little lies can lead to big problems

As parents we have all heard these words from our kids: “I didn’t do it, Mom – It’s not me, HE did it – I didn’t eat the chocolate in the fridge, I swear I didn’t.” If we find these utterances by our children cute and seem proud of their language skills, they will languish in the praise and continue to tell lies. The little lies will eventually escalate to punishable wrongs and the kids will be confused as to why they are being punished. It is the parent’s duty to nip lying in the bud. Kids tell fibs all the time not realizing that they are lying and what it means to lie. A sweet might go missing from the bowl or a plate might have fallen to the floor that they are responsible for and when mom asks, ‘who did it’, no one answers or you get the most preposterous responses.

Correct your children when they lie

I remember being around seven or eight when I took a penny from the shelf of the kitchen dresser without asking; only a penny – but how my mother dealt with that penny was to ask each child individually, ’did you take the penny?’ My sister and brother said no. When it came to my turn, I could only look down at my toes and admit that it was me. She did not make a big thing about it, and did not talk to me in front of my younger brother and sister, but told me nicely after my bedtime bath that to tell a lie is to be dishonest, and that she would not like to think of me as a dishonest child. That was the biggest shame for me and I never forgot it.

Levels of punishment

We love our kids, but part of our job is to correct them when they are wrong. It is for their benefit, and parents are charged with the responsibility. As there are degrees in the levels of dishonesty there should be levels of correction when kids start to lie. Taking a sweet without asking may be nothing when you are two or three, but when you steal a cell phone at school or a chocolate bar from the grocery store, it is a big thing. Parents should bring up these subjects over dinner when everyone is at the table and talk to them about what can happen if they lie. Lies lead to wrongdoing if not corrected, and a child who steals from a grocery shop will get into big trouble later on when he runs with the wrong crowd and his parents do not punish him. He won’t be so cute behind bars.


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