Kids Dont Lie

Children do not lie. They just learn to imitate

“What’s wrong with our children? Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating. Adults telling children not to be violent while marketing and glorifying violence. I believe adult hypocrisy is the biggest problem children face in America.”

Marion Wright Edelman

No other quote could have been better to set the context for the story to follow. What Edelman said does not apply to children of the US alone; it applies to children across the globe. How often have we asked our children to attend to our call and let the person at the other know that we have just stepped in for a shower? Or how often have we lied while on our way to some place with our little one besides us, telling the person we are suppose to meet, that we are stuck in traffic, when in reality we may not even have stepped into our car? Children are not programmed to lie. Let’s get that straight. Children are just programmed to imitate. They love imitation. And if you think your child lies too often, it is time for some personal introspection.

The buck stops with you
Savio was out for a movie with his wifey and kid a day before he had to report to work at 9.00 for  a presentation. The night stretched on post the movie with dinner and a drive to their favorite ice-cream parlour. Since it was a Friday night, they were relaxed as Nivaan had his school holiday. Conveniently, Savio, Samira and Nivaan overslept the next morning. When Savio woke up it was already 8.30 a.m. There was no way he would be able to reach work by 9.00a.m. Nivaan was awake and was wondering why dad and mom were so much in a rush when he had a holiday. Suddenly dad gets a call and Vivaan hands over the phone to him. And guess what? Savio asked Nivaan to respond to the call and let the person know that dad was out and he had forgotten his phone at home. Wow! So Nivaan now knows that it is okay to make stories this way.

Keeping in mind the way we multi-task between our personal, professional and social life; it is understandable why the tasks don’t get completed on time. And when it is time to deliver, we often resort to lying. We really do not want to preach you on morals but yes, what is important to convey is that PLEASE ensure that you do not make your little one a partner in your lying. Ensure that he is not around when you are masquerading the truth if he knows what the truth is.

The best option for Savio would have been to take the phone out of the room or allowed it to just ring. There was zero need for him to involve Nivaan. So should it have surprised Savio a few days later when on not completing his homework, the excuse Nivaan put up was that he left his book in his friend’s bag when Samira found the book hidden beneath his pillow?

We repeat, children imitate. Don’t lie in front of them when they are young and you shall not face a problem of them lying as they grow older.

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Corrective measures
No scolding. No spanking and no naughty corners as a punishment. Tell them a story. Pinocchio won’t help. Children today understand that nose really does not grow longer than what it is. The story can be about a child who would enjoy hiding things from his mamma but the fairy who was keeping a watch over him knew everything. The fairy would come in mamma’s dream and tell her about the child but because mamma loved the child, she would always forgive him. The sense of security that the child would get from hearing that mamma’s love their children and they forgive, gives the child the strength to speak the truth and not lie.

Punishment and direct confrontation need to be used as the last resort. Children understand the language of love. The more you assure the child that you love him no matter what, he shall never find the need to hide the truth from you.

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