All of this week, we talked about overcoming the habit of lying in our kids.
- On Monday we shared How to Eradicate Lying
- On Tuesday we Debunked the 7 Myths of Lying
- On Wednesday we gave you the 6 Steps to Overcome Lying
- On Thursday we told you that when you Shame a Liar You Create a Better Liar
When we started the series, we said that one of the primary roots of lying is laziness. Lying is a shortcut. The opposite of that is a willingness to take responsibility, roll up our sleeves and do the hard work, which often means facing the consequences of our choices.
One of the greatest lessons we can teach our kids is to take full responsibility for their actions. Does “Not Me” live in your house?
“Who left their shoes on the floor?”
“Who forgot to turn off the lights?”
“Who made this mess?”
Not Me is very naughty!
There are many ways kids avoid taking responsibility.
- A child breaks something in someone’s house and doesn’t tell anyone what happened.
- A child blames his bad choice on the person who instigated him, “He made me do it.”
- A child insists he knows something, but when he finds out he’s wrong, he doesn’t admit it and apologize.
- A child performs poorly on a test, and blames the teacher, a classmate, his schedule, or some other force outside himself.
- A child comes in and tattles, but doesn’t fess up to his part in the situation. He tells you what the other kid did, but leaves out what he did.
- A child does not complete a chore or task and then blames someone else for not doing their part first.
In almost every instance where a person does not take responsibility for their actions, pride is the culprit, and it has to be rooted out. But remember, we have to always approach this as our child’s coach and mentor, full of compassion and gentleness and without any condemnation.
That being said, don’t let these things go. Help them take responsibility by giving them words and walking them through the process of owning up to their mistakes. For example, don’t let your kids smile or laugh when they are in trouble. It’s a way of minimizing the significance of what has happened. We realize that it’s usually a nervous habit, but we need to recognize it and train our children to be sober in the face of error.
Say, “I know this is uncomfortable, and when we feel uncomfortable, we can be tempted to smile or laugh, but that sends a message that you’re not taking this seriously, and I know that’s not the message you want to give out. Sometimes just putting words to how you’re feeling helps make it less uncomfortable. Think for a moment, and try to tell me how you’re feeling right now.”
When they have made a mistake, have them
- 1. Confess their part to people and to God (He is their ultimate authority)
- 2. Apologize (using the 6 Steps of Apology)
- 3. Take steps of restoration
Set The Example
Kids have super sensitive hypocrisy radars, and if they see that you’re not willing to own up to your mistakes with a humble heart, they will quickly shift the spotlight away from themselves and onto you when they fail to take responsibility. We have to model this for our kids by FULLY apologizing when we make a mistake or when we say something inaccurate.
If we want our kids to be truth tellers, we can’t lie. Kids learn what they live. We can’t send the “Do as I say, don’t do as I do” message and expect our kids to do the hard of telling the truth. Remember, in God’s eyes, there are no little white lies. Lies are lies.
For example, don’t lie about a kid’s age to get a cheaper rate.
Be honest with your kids when they ask questions. If they’re too young for the answer say, “I want to answer that question for you honestly, but this is a complicated situation, and you will need more life experience to understand it. I promise that I will tell you more about this when you are bit older and can understand fully.”
If you have a sordid past, be honest with your kids when they’re old enough. They need to know that you understand that there is an element to bad choices (drugs, alcohol, promiscuity) that people find fun and exciting, but that the truth is, you are not in anyway better off for having made those choices. Tell them about how bad the outcomes are if they go down the road of drugs and how addiction starts, it´s very important for them to know, and that the only way out of that life is by going through a california rehabilitation center. Talk about the deep and lasting pain of regret, and tell them that if you had a chance to do things over, you would make very different choices. Tell them that you were foolish, and that you are so grateful that they are much wiser than you were at their age.
If your kids catch you in a lie, they won’t trust what you say. Once they don’t trust you, you have a whole new set of problems.
We hope you’ve been blessed by this week’s series. Please don’t hesitate to leave us your questions and thoughts in the comments section.