5 Easy Steps to Discourage Lying in Little Kids

A dad who was in for parent coaching recently asked me how to deal with his 6 year old son’s chronic lying.
Here are five strategies he’s going to experiment with and see how they work.
Please let me know if you’ve had experience with this and what has helped.  Other parents will be grateful!

Celebrate the Truth

Watch…. when you anticipate a lie and get the truth, celebrate! Acknowledge that you love to hear the truth and let him know you love and appreciate it. Little kids love positive feedback! (Don’t we all?!)

Call for a “Do-Over”

When your child does lie, give her the chance for a “do-over.”  Gently explain, “Lying is not something we do in our family and there is a consequence for it. But if you would like to do it over, you can have a chance.”

Then…. Make it Playful!

Comically back up, recreate the scene, and repeat the scenario. Sometimes the sillier you make this, the more likely your son or daughter is to break his/her frame of mind and tell the truth instead. And remember, when they tell the truth… celebrate with tone of voice, touch, eye contact and a smile!

Observe Situations Around You

Look at different events around you and name when people are pretending when they are telling the truth. You could reference a television show and tell your child that people are pretending. That’s ok because everyone knows they are just pretending. But when mom or dad ask a question, then the truth must be told.  It’s ok to teach children that there’s a time and place for pretend and there’s a time and place for the truth.

Use the Wisdom of Dr Suess

Read the book ‘To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” and talk about how the kid is fibbing. Explain that if kids want to make up a big story, that’s ok, you love their creativity… they just have to let people know that they are telling a pretend story.


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Kerry Stutzman MSW, LMFT

My passion is helping my clients develop close, connected families and healthy relationships. For the past 20 years I have been helping people discover the best version of themselves.  Learn more

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My specialty is couples therapy with parents. I also have expertise in parenting, betrayal recovery, and addiction.  Learn more

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Amy Cobb MS Family/Human Development

I specialize in working with parents and caregivers with children from cradle to college, with special focus from birth – 10 years old. Learn more

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