3 Ways to Respond to Lying with Connection
3 Ways to Respond to Lying with Connection
Turn Your Child’s Lie into an Opportunity for Teaching, Building Connection & Reinstating Trust in Your Relationship
We’ve allll been there. We have either lied as children ourselves or been lied to by our own children!
Close your eyes…. Think about a time that you lied to your parents. Ask yourself, “How did they react? How did I feel?”.
Now think about a time when one of your children may have lied to you. How did you react? How did you feel? What do you think they were feeling at the moment?
Many of us can relate to the more traditional and reactive response to lying when calling upon these memories. Most of our interactions with either our parents or our children probably included fear, lecturing, judgment and / or shame.
In either scenario, the person lying already felt the guilt of making a regrettable decision in their heart. This is a GOOD thing!
But the added shame & lack of safety was the problem.
You see … guilt naturally guides us to make different decisions in the future.
The issue is less about what the specific lie pertained to & more about why the child made this choice and felt they couldn’t be honest in the first place.
People, especially children, are inherently good. Yes, they are not born flawless. They WILL make mistakes, they WILL stumble & fall, they WILL misbehave.
AND they truly do want to respect us and do the right thing in life. (we love using the word AND here at Fresh Start Family).
We are human and so are our children. A mistake doesn’t make any of us a “bad person”.
As I talk about in this Fresh Start Family Show episode about lying … mistakes are simply opportunities for us to mentor and empower our children to learn from their mistakes. We want to help them make a choice that aligns with their “moral compass” more closely in the future.
If we can flip the script on lying, we can approach the entire situation differently, while being firm, kind and respectful in our relationships.
Let’s face it, lying will happen at some point and these 3 tips will help you navigate your relationship with your child when they do.
If we as parents are better equipped to handle lying by keeping connection & compassion at the forefront, while holding true to our firm boundaries … our children will lie LESS. Why? Our children will see us as a safe place for open and genuine discussion because we are showing up calmly, mentoring them as they experience & figure out “this thing called life”!
Now for the good stuff!
#1: Do get curious! Don’t nail them when you find out they lied
If we react with fear, force, judgment or shame when a child lies or makes a mistake, we perpetuate the environment that is causing them to lie in the first place.
- Fear will breed lying. Connection and unconditional love will breed honesty.
- Focus on rebuilding trust & repairing the relationship instead of becoming reactive over the lie itself.
- When your child does fess up to a certain misbehavior or mistake or accident, thank her, for telling the truth!
- Pause and empathize. Was your child seeking the need to feel valuable, loved, powerful, or belong?
#2 Teach your child to listen to himself
Oftentimes, children will look at the world or themselves based on how we treat them. We have the opportunity to empower our children to trust their intuition, even when their courage to do so is being tested.
- Remind your child that mistakes are a beautiful way to learn and that they are in a safe place to be truthful and process the regrettable behavior.
- Guide them to recognize how their mind, heart and body are feeling in these moments.
- Steer them to listen to their own personal “moral compass”.
- Eventually your child will have strong intrinsic motivation to be honest because he will understand that it feels better in his soul.
#3 Teach your child the lesson you want her to learn, later, in a calm time
When we are in a heightened state, parents are more likely to carry a “lecturing” tone and our children are less likely to come to the conversation with an open heart to truly receive our mentorship.
- The lesson can still be taught & the misbehavior doesn’t need to be ignored, it can be addressed without any underlying fear.
- Listen to the circumstances of the lie/misbehavior, ask questions, and allow your kiddo to assess how they felt before, during, and after the mistake.
- Teaching our children why our boundaries are important (ex: to keep them safe) and how to make better choices should be the motivating factor when it comes to dealing with lying or any other misbehavior.
- Stay focused. Don’t let scarcity thoughts creep into your mind and spiral into the “what-if zone”. The skills they learn in this instance will build a strong foundation for future decision making.
- Encourage your child to always remember you are there for them with safety & unconditional love, in the good times and the more difficult ones too.
- Model honesty & confess your own mistakes to your children.
Families, do not underestimate the power that true connection has on the relationships with our children.
Life is a journey. We all want what is best for those we love the most.
We will all make choices … We will all make mistakes … We will all continue to learn, take accountability and shape a bright future filled with love, kindness, mutual respect & honesty.
What if you could be an effective, firm & kind parent WITHOUT relying on fear, force, bribery & rewards?
Imagine learning a new way of firm (AND kind) parenting so you can end painful generational parenting cycles and create family legacies & memories YOU are proud of?
All while getting your kids to cooperate with your rules and boundaries with ease.
Parenting your kids with calm & confidence each day in a way that causes them to do what’s asked of them because they WANT to (not because they HAVE to) … because you’re helping to build essential life skills that have them behaving well & being respectful when you’re NOT looking!