Pinocchio was a wooden boy who made his father’s job easy. Whenever Pinocchio lied, his nose grew longer. If only parents and teachers had the benefit of a growing nose to warn them that a lie was coming. There are strategies that can help parents and teachers avoid the potential lies from their children and get to the truth.
1. Avoid asking questions. If you suspect a child of lying, do not ask questions like why? or did you? State the act you suspect them of doing directly.
Example: “Adam, I do not want you to swear like that, again. I am disappointed in your choice of words. There will be no more TV for you this evening”
By making the statement, the child has less time to make up a lie. The statement catches the child off guard, and generally, he or she will admit to the act. If the child truly did not swear, the reaction and body language will let you know that the child is innocent of the crime.
2. Pay close attention to eye contact. Liars will avoid direct eye contact. One way to tell if the child is lying is to observe whether the child looks at you when you confront him or her with the offense. If the child is young, this strategy is telling, however older children may be accomplished at lying and look you directly in the eye. Nevertheless, there are still little telltale signs such as erratic blinking or moving the eyes from side to side to identify a lie.
3. Watch for body language. Blushing or red flushed skin can be a sign that the child is not giving the whole truth. Some children will touch their nose or face when they are lying, while others will fidget and wring their hands. Lying makes people nervous and this nervousness is a good sign that something is not right.
4. Is the child being overly defensive? Often, when a liar is confronted their first reaction is to be defensive. The child may blame another for the infraction or try to make the adult feel guilty for asking. This should make the adult stop and ponder what the child is trying to hide.
5. Catch the child in the act. The best way to catch a liar is to observe them doing the act. This may take a bit of patience and time on the part of the adult, but it is a good way to stop an habitual liar when other methods are not working.
The ultimate goal of parents and teachers should be to teach the child that lying is not the answer. If the child learns to admit when he or she has made a mistake and how to accept the consequences, the instances of lying can be eliminated as well as the unacceptable behavior.Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.