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Do you have any advice to help us teach our child to stop lying?

My 9-year-old daughter continues to lie to us and her teachers. Do you have any advice?

Heather | Expert


Oh, the lying. I thought I had it in the bag as a parent when my son turned out to be the most honest kid I have ever met. I was deflated; however, when my daughter decided to start lying at the age of seven. It is much easier to teach the dangers of a hot stove than it is to teach a child that lying is wrong.
My daughter is now eight and I have heard from other parents of girls her age that they are dealing with the same thing. Whenever we have caught her in a lie, we would be very clear that her consequence was not for doing something bad, but it was for the lying to make the message very clear that her lying is what got her into trouble.
We have tried taking things away and grounding her, but she continued to not be phased by it. One of the toughest things about parenting is to try different angles and continue to try different things until you find the things that really strike a chord with your child. I have suggested a few ideas below:

  • Every time you catch her in a lie, have her pull a really gross chore out of a chore jar that she must do.
  • Have her pull ten weeds in the garden for every lie she tells. Unfortunately, my kids think it is a treat to pull weeds and this doesn't work for them.
  • Give her coins for the whole week. For example, give her a quarter for every day of the week. If you catch her in a lie, take the quarter away from that day. She can keep the remainder.
  • Let her know that you are going to pretend to be like her and start lying to her about little things that wouldn't hurt her feelings. For example, if she asks what time dinner is and you say in five minutes, she will wonder why you didn't get it done in five minutes and you can say that you lied. A few times of this and she might get the message if you lie to her, it doesn't feel so good on the receiving end. Let her know that this is how you feel every time she lies to you and that it hurts your relationship with her.

The key is we need to be creative without damaging the well-being of our children. She needs a very clear message that lying is bad.  f you are religious, then tie in the teachings of your church that addresses this.

You never want to let on that she will have a consequence for being caught. Instead, let her know that it is every time that she lies that she will have the consequence.

Read more answers by Heather