Question: My little girl is really struggling with telling the truth. I would really like to hear how you help your children in this area.
Answer: As you know, telling the truth is a fundamental building block in relationships. It is vital that we teach our children the devastation that comes as a result of lying. Praying for your little girl is first and foremost. Here are a few things for you to consider:
Have you created a safe environment for her to tell the truth? In our home, children know that they can stop at any moment when they are not telling the truth and say, “That’s not the truth, the truth is….” In our home, when children do this they are praised for being courageous enough to tell the truth. We might talk about why they started to lie but it is always done in a positive way to reinforce that what they did was right!
Do you lie to your children, even in a playful way? Make sure that your children know you don’t lie either. They don’t hear you exaggerating stories to friends or find out that you lie to them when it’s convenient for you. In parenting our example set is one of the most important things for us to consider.
Children often lie because they are scared of the consequences if they tell the truth. We need to ensure our children that the consequences of telling the truth is NEVER as bad as telling a lie. Talk to them about being known as a liar. “What would be worst to be known as someone who made such and such mistake or someone who can not be trusted?”
When children lie to me we often discuss how will I ever know what the truth is. “What do you do different when you lie?” “How do I know you aren’t lying when you say you love me?” These questions often get my children thinking about the reality of how lying destroys our relationship.
I also tell my children often how thankful I am that I know they will tell me the truth, even when it’s hard! We talk about how anyone can tell the truth when it’s easy but only those with courage can tell the truth even when it’s hard. We talk about the seven things God hates (Prov. 6:16) and how lying is one of them. We discuss the importance of our reputation: A good name is rather to be chosen that silver (Prov. 22:1) We talk about how even a child is known by his doings (Prov. 20:11) These are conversations that go on in our home all the time, not just when someone is struggling with lying.
Be diligent in training! Pray and ask the Lord to expose your child’s area of weakness so that you can help them overcome it. Be prepared to be loving, faithful, and consistent just as the Lord is faithful, loving and consistent to deal with you and your sin. He will bless your efforts and equip you with all you need!
I can’t say it enough. Reading the Word with your children each day is vital!!
Memorizing scripture as a family is critical to our growth! We’re told in Psalm 119:11 Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. If we want to overcome sin in our lives or help our children in overcoming sin, memorizing His Word is a must!!
I have used Judy Rogers CD’s over the years to help in training the children. She actually has songs that deal with lying and the seven things God hates; my children know them by heart. These CD’s (they use to be tapes) have been played in my home for almost 20 years. I would encourage you to prayerfully consider if they might be resources for training your children that the Lord would want you to add to your home. You can visit her here: http://www.judyrogers.com/