If your children admit to a lie, teach them that lying is an error (one that should not be committed), but if it happens, they can apologize the way that they would for a different mistake. If they screamed in anger at a sibling, they would say, “I’m sorry, Malkie, for screaming at you. I lost my temper and that wasn’t fair.” In the same vein, they can say, “I’m sorry Mommy for telling you that I cleaned my room when I really had not. I was trying to go play that baseball game with Shmuel and I didn’t want to stay to clean my room.”
On your end, you can accept the apology with grace and kindness, but there should be consequences. Your child should clean his or her room and perhaps sit out a different baseball game.
More Tips for Avoiding Lying
Be a role model. Don’t tell your child that the cookies in the supermarket are not kosher just because you don’t want to buy them. Instead, follow your own rules and tell him the truth.
Praise honesty. Instead of always pointing out the lies, applaud their honesty if they tell you that they spilled the milk or accidentally tripped their baby sister. This will encourage them to continue to tell the truth.
Stay calm. If you are frustrated about a situation, your child will be more likely to place blame on someone else in order to avoid your wrath. If you see the baby crying and suspect someone might have pushed her, instead of screaming, “Who pushed the baby?” calmly say, “Can you explain to me what’s going on? The baby seems upset.” This will encourage an environment of truth telling.