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Teaching Kids About the Consequences of Lying

The entire topic of lying is a complicated one for parents to tackle, as the social necessity of tiny “white lies” makes the subject a murky one for kids to grasp. One thing that all parents agree on, regardless of parenting style, is the need to teach children that blatant dishonesty for personal gain is wrong. For repeat offenders, here are ten ways to teach the consequences of lying.

Question Everything – Putting the fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf into action, one way to impress the importance of honesty on a child is to vocally question other claims. When even their sincere statements are met with skepticism, kids are likely to be more careful in the future to tell the truth.

Make it Personal – Some kids respond better to punishments that are customized to their personality, interests and needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. For instance, outdoor aficionados may revel in a punishment that involves raking leaves or yard work, while a bookish, indoorsy-type would loathe it.

Take Away Privileges – One of the most effective ways to teach children that bad behavior has unfavorable consequences is to begin systematically stripping them of privileges. Withholding video games, cell phones and other items can be an effective way of getting your point across, but it should be paired with a conversation about consequences, rather than simply imposed and never explained.

Tailor Punishment to the Lie – Kids that lie about homework might benefit from a punishment that involves keeping up with a homework journal and apologizing to their teacher, while kids that have trouble being honest about other things should have their punishments tailored to the situation in order to help them connect their punishment with their own actions.

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