Do you find yourself stretching the truth with your little ones? How do we expect them to tell the truth if they see little white lies coming out of the mouths of people they trust and look up to? Role model the behavior you want to see from your child. This means, telling the truth all the time. Sometimes this means you have to answer questions you weren’t prepared to.
Telling the Truth- Kids can’t distinguish “little white lies” from other lies. So don’t let your child overhear you tell your friend, “I would totally come over for dinner but we have family coming over,” if you’re clearly not . Your child will imitate what he watches you do. Sometimes this means answering the hard questions and not giving your child little white lies- This is a tough one because children ask really complicated questions. My daughter asked shortly before she was 2.5″ how do babies got in bellies” “Where the toilet water goes when it’s flushed” “Why are grandma and grandpa not married” “Where does the food go after I swallow it”. She was a very inquisitive child with VERY hard to answer questions. Some of the questions I would answer in simple age appropriate answers, others I would say I have to look them up.
Not Shaming- Guilt and shame are very different. Guilt comes from inside a child , and feels remorse from twhat they have done. Guilt can lead to accountability, since that child is likely feeling regret and responsibility for his or her actions. Shame is more about feelings worthlessness and is likely to cause that child to withdraw in embarrassment. The difference here is that shame does not lead to accountability—and may lead to a decrease in effective problem-solving skills now and later in life.
Lastly, this will take time… But figure out WHY they are lying. Are they embarrassed? Are they exaggerating? (is this age appropriate exaggeration like a fantasy?), is it low self esteem and they are bragging?
Now that you have figured out the basis on what’s happening, what do you do? How do you discipline without shaming? In my eyes there is not one way to “dicipline” a child. Every child is different and every situation and “WHY” is different. Here is a link to a great post from Janet Landsbury that may be helpful. http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/02/what-your-toddler-thinks-of-discipline/
About the Author
Nicole Chambers has over 15 years experience in Early Childhood and Infant and Toddler Education working with children from age 6 weeks+. She then decided to be a birth doula and postpartum doula and trained in 2012 & 2013. When she is not working as a Doula she is a Children and Youth Counsellor, Parenting Group Facilitator and Parent-Child Mother Goose Facilitator at a non-profit agency. Nicole is always learning and updating her skills she has completed her Placenta Encapsulation training, Expressive Play Therapy Certificate and continues to take courses on child development, trauma, birth and adolescence.