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Problems, Plans, and Opinion Polls

June-July 1999 Question

May Question
Quiz: Do you think that lying is a big deal?
Results: 64 respondents, 81% said "Yes", 2% said "No", and 17% said "Depends"


  1. Do you agree with me or not?
  2. How do you handle lying from your kids?
  3. What kind of punishment should be given for lying?
  4. Do you think there are degrees of lying, ie; little white lies, dirty great big lies, etc.? And if so, do you administer different punishments for each kind of lie?
(Below is the origianl posting by the moderator. Unfortunately, we got no response to this question.)
What do you do when your kids tell lies? Big question.

A friend has this problem from time to time and with three kids this could quickly get out of hand. In our house lying is a big NO NO, my son has a hard time telling me a lie because guilt is written all over his face and we all start laughing, that defuses the situation real fast and we try not to sweat it too much by saying things like "nice try but no banana" or "gotcha", then we don't focus on the would-be lie but instead say something like " thank you for your honesty" or "telling the truth always works out best in the end", we never use the word "lier" in our house, not even in jest but prefer the word "fib", it isn't as harsh and doesn't sound as judgmental.

I tell my son that two people can fib, and if I start doing it how will he ever know if what I say is the truth or not? This leaves him thinking so that he decides he doesn't want to live that way, and so far so good. I also use other people as examples from t.v or real life, this can help the child see the bigger picture. People only lie to further their own cause, whatever that may be. I think the trick has been to nip it in the bud before lying gets out of hand and/or becomes habit, and also to lead by example, after all if you fib off and on, you have very little integrity on the subject as far as your child is concerned and they have no reason to stop.

I think they need a reason to stop. We constantly talk about the content and quality of our character and about what's in our hearts, not just about lying but everything. You may call this guilt tripping but I don't agree. I think it helps a child make good decisions on an ongoing basis about the kind of person he or she wants to be. I have even asked my son who is 9, "do you want to be a lying, cheating kind of person or do you want to be an honest trustworthy kind of person? You choose because you can't be both". This isn't guilt tripping at all, its responsible parenting.