Rossendale Free Press
ASK THE EXPERT
Q WHY does my daughter lie all the time and how can I get her to stop?
A CHILD psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin, says: “Children learn to lie around the age of three, when they develop a ‘theory of mind’ (an understanding that others can think differently to them). So, in many ways, lying is a sign that your child is developing just as they should be.
“There are two types of lying. In pro-social lying, children are not telling the truth, so they can protect the feelings of others. These lies are often reinforced by parents and other grown-ups, who frequently tell children to be ‘polite’ and ‘nice’.
“The second type of lying, anti-social lying, can cause more difficulties. These lies are usually told in order to save the child’s own feelings. By telling antisocial lies, children are trying to avoid being shouted at or punished, or to save disappointing their parents.”
Here are Dr Rudkin’s tips for making it easier for your child to tell the truth rather than lie...
■ PRAISE kids when they tell the truth: “Focus on the times when your daughter tells you the truth. Heap loads of praise on her and let her know how proud you are of her for following the family rules and telling you the truth.”
■ WORK out punishments together: “Your daughter tries to gain more control over her life by lying. Help her use this desire to contribute more positively to family life by organising a family meeting. Use this meeting to discuss how you all value honesty and good behaviour, and agree together on the consequences of lying, with these consequences applying to everyone in the family.”
■ SPEND time together and chat lots: “Spend lots of quality time with your daughter, so she has plenty of opportunity to talk about her feelings with you, and also so you can rebuild your trust in her.”
■ LEAD by example: “Children learn by observing and imitating, so as a parent, you need to behave the way you would like your child to behave. If you don’t want her to lie, then you need to be very honest yourself, so you can role model the kinds of moral action you would like to see in her.”