Parenting lyingTeaching children morals and values is one of the toughest elements of parenting. When children lie to their parents, it feels like a major breech of trust. However, the important thing is to keep the focus on the child. Parents should try not to be too worried or anxious about their child's lying. This behavior is not unusual for children. Sometimes children lie to get out of trouble, and it often works. Generally, lying is not the problem, it is a symptom of an underlying problem.

Parent's should move away from the idea of 'catching' their child in a lie. Rather than focusing on the lying, try to focus instead on the issues the child is lying about. Try to analyze the situation and figure out what is really bothering the child.

If a child has only recently started lying, parents should consider if there have been any recent changes in the child's routine, school life, friends or a new sibling. Often lying is a reaction to stress or changes that children have a difficult time handling. Children often respond to stresses by seeking attention through 'acting out.' Children will seek any kind of attention when they feel needy. If parents think that this may be the problem, they should try making arrangements to spend special time alone with the child.

A recommended approach to addressing your child's lying, is to to sit down and talk with the child, with no distractions. Besides discussing the lying, try to uncover what may be causing any anxiety. Help the child figure out what is stressful to him or her, and offer constructive ways of dealing with it. Try to help the child come up with alternatives to lying. When talking with your child, address the difference between make believe and reality--lying and telling the truth. Stress to your child the importance of honesty at home and in the community.

Create a situation in your home that encourages your children to tell the truth. Instead of punishing them for mistakes, praise them when they tell you something difficult. The key to changing a child's behavior is giving attention only for positive behaviors. Then, reinforce the idea that they can tell you anything and you will always love them.

If your child's behavior continues for several more weeks, you may want to discuss the situation with their pediatrician.

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