My husband and I have always felt that most important thing to focus on in raising our kids is their 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 long 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.
Watching a video can also be a great tool for helping them understand the importance of lying. “I Will Tell the Truth and Be Careful What I Say” is a wonderful support for the lesson you are trying to teach them.
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. Those 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.
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 off on their own 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.).
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
Lisa Pennington lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 26 years and their 9 children. She homeschools while trying to figure out how to run their little farm with no real knowledge of how to care for goats or grow a garden, turning her life into a comedy of errors. When she has a few extra minutes, she loves to help other women find their identity in Christ and have the courage to live their calling. She blogs about her family life at The Pennington Point and runs an etsy shop with her daughters, Shop 24. When people ask how she does it all she replies, “I’m not sure, but I know I need a nap!” You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @PenningtonPoint.