My husband and I have always felt that most important thing to focus on in raising our kids is building godly character. Integrity, strength of courage and trustworthiness are missing in so many people these days. What is more valuable than teaching our children to be truthful in all things?
All 9 of our children have struggled with lying at one point or another. It is difficult to break once it has become a habit. I want to share with you some of the things we do to help them break the habit.
1. Talk with them about honesty
Not a lecture, but a simple talk. Give them Bible verses about truthfulness and help them understand how important it is to be honest at all cost. Above all, don’t show frustration. Let them know that they are loved and you are confident they can work to regain your trust.
When I say talk, I mean really dig deep. Read some verses about truth and memorize them together. Discuss what they think about the verses.
Ask them what they think about lying and if they have ideas that will help them stop. Listen to their heart, it is your key to understanding their struggle. The clues you get from listening can help you figure out why they feel compelled to lie in the first place. Sometimes it’s just become a habit, but sometimes it’s a deeper issue.
Ask God to show you ways to help your child stop lying. Also, let them know that you pray for them and make sure they see you praying. When you see them struggling, take their hand and pray together.
God has given me the most creative ideas when I ask Him. Once, I was inspired to have one of the boys write down his lies each day. He had a little pad of paper and teeny pen that were just for that. I never looked at it or asked him about it, but it made him aware of how often he was doing it and it really helped him stop. That idea came to me through prayer.
God is ready with His infinite wisdom to help you with your parenting struggles.
4. Pay close attention
Keep them close and spend extra time with your struggling child. They need you to help them through and hold them accountable. Don’t let them be in their room all afternoon without any accountability for what they are doing. Try to find ways to stay close either by working together or by having some down time (games, reading aloud, watching a DVD together, etc.) together.
If you’re busy and can’t do that, then have them stay close by. While you check emails, for example, have them do schoolwork in the same room.
Whatever method of discipline you choose, the key is to be consistent. It’s important that they get caught anytime they are lying. If you suspect a lie, don’t spend too much time pressing for the truth. Trust your instincts and deal with the issue directly.
Occasionally it will happen that you discipline for lying when they were telling the truth. I tell my kids that when that happens, they should remember that there were times they lied and didn’t get caught. This is a good opportunity for them to reflect on the real consequences of lying which is that after a few lies, people won’t believe you even if you’re being honest. I assure them that they can work toward being believed again by telling the truth and earning our trust.
And remember Mom and Dad, this is not a quick fix. It takes time to break a habit and regain trust. Keep working together, be patient and above all let your child know they are loved no matter what!
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight” Proverbs 12:22