Identifying the habit of lying in children and teaching them why it is not good to lie is important so that they do not get hooked to this habit. Teaching children the importance of being truthful and honest is essential. Here is how to identify the habit of lying in children.
Children are not born with an inbuilt moral compass and therefore it is not really fair to blame them when they pick up morally wrong habits. There are many tell tale signs that children exhibit when they do something wrong like lying. As a parent you need to be alert and active so that you can pick up those signs and rectify your children before it is too late.
1. Not Maintaining Eye Contact
Not maintaining eye contact is one of the classic signs of lying both in adults as well as children. Look out for situations when your kid is not looking at you in the eye while talking to you. Shifting eyes indicate a guilty confused mind and also indicates that your kid must have said something untrue. When you suspect your kid of lying then do focus eye contact on him or her; there is a strong chance of your child coming clean and confessing the truth.
2. Contradicting versions of Story
Consistency is a hallmark of truth and inconsistency is a sure sign of a lie. When you hear your kid telling you different versions of the same story over a short frame of time then you might as well understand that the story is fabricated. Ask one or two probing questions and that story will unravel itself. Children are not seasoned liars and once they understand that their lies get caught easily they will soon leave lying.
3. Unusual Behaviour
Did you notice your kid using unusual hand gestures while telling you something or is your child displaying out of the way mannerisms while giving you an excuse? In either case it is a common sign of lying. Telling a lie tasks the brain and forces it to work overtime which is why the behaviour pattern strays from its usual pattern. Child psychiatrists also advise parents to look out for sudden display of good behaviour from an unruly child as such changes may be induced by guilt.
Slightly older kids have the capacity to understand that lying is not a preferable activity. They are also not mature enough to justify the occurrence of this activity to themselves. Consequently when children lie they do so with a sense of guilt and nervousness. These factors affect the speech pattern and cause them to stumble over words. Look out for stammers, hiccups and misplaced word use in the speech of your kid as they may indicate that your kid is lying.
5. Loss of Appetite
Fabricating lies creates a negative feeling in the mind of children which they may or may not display outwardly. If your child is clever enough probably he or she can stop displaying signs that are mentioned above. However, one area that is out of control is the area of appetite which takes a dip every time some unusual psychological phenomenon takes place.
The pressure exerted on the brain by lies automatically suppresses the appetite as the child is focused on either guilty thoughts or protective measures to hide the lie. If you notice your child eating less all of a sudden when there is no physical ailment then maybe your kid has lied to you recently.
In the event that you do discover that your child has been lying to you it is advisable to act gently but firmly. Explain the consequences of lies and also elaborate on the fact that most lies sooner or later get caught. Finally tell your child that you hold a very good opinion of him or her and you would feel very bad if that opinion is hampered. When dealt with in the proper way, it is possible to eradicate the habit of lying.
Why do children tell lies? How to break the habit of lying in children? What are the ways to identify the habit of lying in children? Discuss here.
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- The Indiaparenting Team