It was two years ago, when my son was eight years old, that the lying began. As a mother, it was so disheartening to hear my firstborn flat out lie to my face. I started trying to figure out what prompted it and how I could fix it. It wasn’t an easy fix, and I shed a lot of tears along the way.
The story went something like this. My boy had befriended a kid at school that had a lying problem. I didn’t realize it at first, but soon enough I saw the signs. This boy didn’t make my son lie, but my son made a choice and gave in to the temptation. I’ll never forget the phone call I got towards the end of the school year from my son’s teacher. An incident happened at school, and when confronted about it, my son lied to his teacher’s face. I had a mix of emotions that ranged from heartbroken to angry to frustration. I knew he was lying at home but for that to expand beyond that was a hard pill to swallow.
Lying is a tough one because sometimes you don’t have any way of knowing if it’s a lie or a truth. You have to go by gut, instinct, and the help of the Holy Spirit and then worry if you were wrong. It’s a hard job, this parenting thing.
In the midst of it, it felt like we were scrambling, searching, for how to combat the lying, but looking back, I realize there were four things that we did a lot of…
1. Pray, pray, pray. My husband and I prayed like crazy that the desire to tell the truth would penetrate his heart.
2. We pumped him full of words of truth. “You are a child of God.” “You are a truth talker.” “You love people.”
3. We brought it to the light. Lying is darkness, and darkness cannot stand when there is light. We talked openly at home about lies versus truth and the importance of telling the truth. We also got his teacher involved by requesting that any lie be brought to our attention.
4. We instilled consequences for his actions. Let’s just say that he wrote a lot of apology letters during that time.
Recently, I discussed with my boy that year and the things he learned from it. His response told me that, indeed, we are in a different place now, a good place. I asked him what it felt like to lie and he said, “Bad, guilty, like a giant boulder on your shoulders.” He said telling the truth feels “good, like taking the boulder off and rolling it down the hill.”
I’ve realized that lying is a natural thing that a lot of kids go through. As parents, we have to teach our kids that lying is not what God wants for us. It leads to bondage. I want my kids to experience the fulness of the freedom of Christ, and I think it’s vital to help them see what happens when we sin versus what happens when we don’t.
Have you walked through a lying phase with your children? What’s one way you taught them that lying is wrong?
Wife, mother, lover of people, photographer, knitter, blogger and world traveler, Jen Price has traveled to dozens of countries, not merely as a tourist, but rolling her sleeves up and going well off the beaten path so that she might get to know the people, learn the culture, and find the heart of the place. In 2005, Jen co-founded Ten Thousand Homes, an organization dedicated to bringing hope and homes to thousands of children orphaned in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently she and her family live between South Africa and the USA. Jen continues to travel internationally, camera in tow, with more passion than ever to tell the stories of beautiful people the world sometimes forgets. You can check out her stories and photos on her blog, I Believe In Love.