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3 Reasons kids lie and how to get them to tell the truth

3 Reasons kids lie and how to get them to tell the truth

If you’ve got kids, you’ve been lied to at one point or another. It’s not that they are bad, it’s just that kids, like adults, sometimes fail to tell the truth because they fear the consequences that come with an honest answer.

Getting your kids to tell the truth doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge. Most kids really want to tell the truth, they need you to create an environment for them that makes it easy.

Lisa Mitchell, Communications Expert & Founder of Power Body Language and Dave Thompson – False Confession Expert, VP of Operations at Wicklander-Zulawski, share a few key reasons why kids lie and the specific tactics you can use to help get to the truth with them:

  1. They don’t think they’ll get caught
    Parent Tactic: Recap your investigation – use what “evidence” you have to convince your child that you already know the truth and encourage them to give you an honest account of the situation before you reveal what you do and don’t know.
  2. They don’t think you’ll understand
    Parent tactic: Use storytelling to share your experiences that may be similar and make a genuine show of empathy that you understand what they may be feeling. Letting your child know that you’ve been in a similar situation or made a similar decision helps them to see that you are more alike than different and can help minimize the fear of telling the truth.
  3. Parents make it easy for them by being bad interviewers
    Parent tactic: Despite your initial frustration or anger, the best action you can take to get to the truth is to ask better questions and be a good active listener. Instead of making blanket accusations that are easily denied, ask your child an open ended request like “tell me more about that.” That gets them talking and gives you a chance to use active listening to connect the dots on things don’t make sense, are out of the ordinary, or lend themselves to uncertainty or contradiction. It lets you find specific things to zero in on to ask more questions, and get more information from them.
    Sometimes telling the truth can be hard for kids. By using the 3 communication tactics above, you can encourage them to tell the truth more quickly and feel better while they do it.

    Visit or connect on Instagram at @lisamitchellindy.