Let’s make a wild guess…many people lie, not because they enjoy doing that, but because they are afraid of the receiver’s reaction. I strongly believe that human beings were born with conscience. They were born with analytical mind. Deep down everyone knows what is right and wrong, well, most of the time. Either you know it immediately or learn from mistakes committed.
Now, that makes us wonder, isn’t it, why people want to lie to another? Between children and parents, between spouses, amongst friends, siblings, colleagues, strangers, etc. We all know that the truth will one day, somehow or rather, surface! Not only will the liar feels embarrassed and sorry; Regrettably, it makes one feels more difficult to trust that person again.
What I heard mostly and from personal experience are little lies which children tell to their parents. It is usually school-related, about homework and exams results. Every parent whom I came into contact with would share that his/her child lied and hid incomplete homework, lied to teachers, about report card, money, books, etc.
What I found out from the young ones is that, they lied because of fear. Fear of being scolded or punished and the possibility of causing disappointment or sadness to their parents. In their little innocent mind, when they realize the “oops! effect”, to them, the only way to cover it up is via a little lie so that mummy and daddy will continue to enjoy a happy day and loving them. They’ll face the consequences when they cross the bridge. Meanwhile, they’ll carry that burden on their small shoulders.
I continue to give assurance to my children that if they tell the truth, we parents, will not get angry. We may get a bit disappointed with their actions, but we also want to hear them out, and giving them second chances to make it good again. We want them to know that we love them and would appreciate their honesty. There is always a solution to everything.
Children often feel relieved to know that they can tell the truth and still get parents’ support as they learn from their mistakes. Mistake done….what we want to do, moving forward, is to let them to learn from it. By doing so, we are making them understand that Honesty is the Best Policy! They are also learning that making mistakes is common but most importantly, not to repeat them in the future. Of course, after all, they still have to face the consequences as a result of their lies. By being there for them helps them recover better from that situation, without crushing their self-esteem.
I never fail to let them know that when they lie, not only will they be hurting the ones they love but themselves too. Simply because, by lying, they will be consumed by guilt, they cannot sleep well and be happy, and always live in fear that the truth will finally come out in the open. Then, they have to suffer from the embarrassment of being caught lying.
A far as I know, children love their parents very much and deeply. They will not want to hurt them at all, at least not intentionally. They are especially sensitive to their surroundings. Always seeking approval and love from their parents. They enjoy basking in their parents’ attention and happiness. It’s like angel’s wings wrapping around their little body, keeping them safe and warm always.
Growing up, children either learn to stop or continue lying. It all depends on how parents react and manage this delicate situation. Either you offer love and understanding (behind gritted teeth) or you scold and punish heavily. When you choose love and understanding, that doesn’t mean the child get away scot-free. He/she will still be reprimanded for having lied in the first place. You decide on the right punishment. Make them understand that, what you disagree with is the action, not the person. No harm letting them know how you see and feel about them as an individual – their good qualities which you know so well.
Having said all that, you know and I know, that the children forgets easily. Parents will still be challenged repeatedly but you’ll find that when you use the right technique, giving them a safe platform to speak up, the lying will eventually become lesser.
Let’s make them see that Honesty is still the Best Policy“. Of course we are the Giant role model to them. We must first walk the talk! Let them see that it is alright to admit a mistake and face the consequences. In fact, it’s most honorable and brave for a person to do just that!
~ Alice N.