Monday, July 21, 2014

Liar, Liar, Pants-on-Fire (part 1)

Q: My 4-year-old has just started lying. If we ask him if he did something he will say "no," even when it is obvious to all that he did it. (Eg. peeling paint off our porch in a destructive manner.) How do I deal with this?

A: Never ask a child a question you know the answer to. You're opening up an invitation to him to lie to you. If you already know the answer, you don't need to ask the question. Asking the question makes him think that you don't know the answer. He is going to try to get out of getting in trouble by feigning innocence. Don't give him this opportunity. Instead, deal with the actual issue - the destructive act.

Instead of asking him "Did you peel the paint off the porch," tell your son that we don't destroy property. It's not allowed. And if we have destroyed property, we have to help fix it. Include him in the solution. Show him that there are ramifications to his actions and that it's not worth his while to destroy property because there will be a consequence - he will have to fix it.

For an everyday example, instead of asking a child "Did you brush your teeth" when you already know he didn't, you can say something more constructive like "It's time to brush your teeth." This way the real issue - the tooth-brushing - gets addressed and there is no opportunity for your child to lie. Lying just takes the focus off the actual issue - brushing his teeth - and starts up a whole new conversation, further delaying bed time.

Lying can (and will) be addressed another time. For now, instead of giving your child that opening to start a conversation about lying (when, let's face it, all you want is for him to get into bed), bypass the lying issue completely by dealing with the real issue and not asking questions you already know the answer to.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Other People's Children

Q: I drive someone else's kids (along with my own) to and from school everyday. Their 5 year old boy keeps saying "the B-Word" in the car. I REALLY dont want my kids (ages 5,3, and 1.5) to hear this. Any tips on how to get him to stop?

A: The first thing you need to tell him is that you have rules in your car that must be maintained. "We don't use that kind of language in this car. That language is unacceptable and I will not allow it."

If the child refuses to listen to you, let him know that you will be speaking to his parents. If his parents cannot get him to stop, you will have to let them know that you will no longer be able to drive him because his language is influencing your children and your children have to come first.

The most important thing is that each time you make a statement or a "threat," you follow through. If you say, "we don't allow that kind of language in our car," then do something about it. Don't let the child continue to get away with it. If you wanr him that you're gonig to talk to his parents, follow through, and make sure he knows you followed through. If you say he cannot ride in your car anymore if he continues to speak that way, then you have to stop driving him.

This is not about disciplining someone else's child. That's his parents' job.
This is about teaching your own children that you have rules and that when your rules are broken, there will be consequences.