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When our kids begin to lie, it can be disheartening. While we will want to nip the behavior in the bud immediately, it’s important not to respond incorrectly.

In some cases, the way you respond could end up encouraging their bad behavior to continue. The first time I caught my son lying, my heart dropped to the floor. I had asked him about his grades and he had very clearly responded and told me he was doing well, all As in fact. When his report card was handed to me by the principal during an assembly, I saw his face drop. I immediately knew why.

Soon after this, I caught him in a few more lies, which lead me to try to understand what I was doing wrong in my attempts to change the behavior. I found that I had been responding the wrong way the whole time, and once I realized that things changed for the better.

1. Is that the truth?

When you ask them this question, you are opening the door for them to lie. I did this many times and my son knew I was not sure of myself. He then responded with yet another affirmation of his honesty. In turn, your child is going to take the opportunity to lie and run with it.

2. I will trust you once, but don’t let it happen again.

If you know your child is lying, call them out. You may feel like if you give your child your trust that alone will work, but in the end, what needs to be done is that you need to immediately address the lying.

3. Explain this to me.

When you say this, you may feel like what they will have to say will provide you with an understanding of their side. Of course, kids are smart and they know how to tell us what we want to hear so that we will believe them. You may want to believe them, but if you know they are lying, you know.

4. Do not set them up.

Whatever you do, do not set them up. This will only reinforce bad behavior by encouraging them to lie to you, Instead of setting them up, sit down and discuss why lying is hurtful.