Bright kids who habitually lie have often been getting away with it for some time, and can even begin to believe their own lies. So how can we get them back to honesty?
|Teaching Children Honesty Activities|
The first thing to do is to build a family in which people are expected to do what they say they will do. You will need to model this to your children.
The second thing is to have a rule of no excuses. Excuses are the breeding ground of lies. Either you are going to do something or you are not - there are no excuses.
Third, parents need to be the judges of truth. If you are doubtful about something you are being told by your bright kid, cross your arms, look at them seriously, and say, "I'm not sure about that. Convince me."
Fourth, responding angrily to lies is rarely useful. It is better to say something like, "That is very creative [or imaginative] - now tell me something I can believe." Bright kids do best when they believe their parents have eyes in the back of their head, and so can't be fooled.
Fifth, if a lie is found out, the child must make up for it in some way that restores trust.
The understanding bright kids have of honesty changes as they grow up. It may give you some insight into how to help.
Lying and the different types of bright kids
Some lie to impress others and to look good. Ensure they know their personal best effort is good enough. Praise honesty.
With Negotiators, make sure you have a clear policy of fixing the lie rather than emphasizing the fault.
Competitors' lies can often be boastful, and these bright kids can feel they have to live up to their own lies. Discourage them from talking too freely about their great "victories."
Unless there is clear evidence of a lie, do not implement consequences. Talk to them about your observations, not your opinions,
Lies can have major consequences for Dare Devils. If lying becomes a pattern, it can lead to very risky behavior in unsupervised circumstances.
For Passive Resisters, lying can be a way of evading participation and responsibility. They may lie about feeling unwell to avoid social activities and family outings. Supervise them closely, and if illness becomes a persistent excuse, take them to a doctor.
The friends your bright kid chooses to mix with may not always be the ideal comrades you were hoping for. The solution is for your child to have diverse friendship groups.
The secret world
Parenting is different and scarier these days because there is a world of peer pressure that occurs outside the inkling of adults. Cell phones, email, messaging, and texting are almost impossible to keep track of.
Many bright kids have two worlds: the world of peers where they need to be cool, compact, and calculating; and the world of family, where they can still be young and make mistakes. Parents shouldn't expect bright kids to behave with their peers in the same way they behave with them.
The rule of the 3 F's
The absolute first thing to do is to get to know their peers. Knowing them and, if you can, their parents places you in a much more powerful position. Find them, feed them, and (be)friend them.
Don't forget that peer-group pressure can be positive as well as negative. Having a strong positive link with a few key players in your child's life increases the chances that the pressure will be positive. To find out more, you can check out Teaching Children Honesty Activities.