Discipline with love rather than lectures
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Last week a parent called us for advice about how to deal with her daughter who tells lies and then denies that she is lying. As with many parents, this can cause enormous concern and frustration, as well as bewilderment about how to respond.
What can parents do when their children become truthfulness-challenged? If many adults in today’s world suffer from “Honesty Deficit Disorder,” who are we to think that our offspring are immune from this disorder? The good news is that conscientious parents can turn the tide on truth-bending behavior by applying the Three Es of Love and Logic.
The First “E” of Love and Logic: Example
Obviously, parents who act truthfully around their kids are far more likely to have kids who tell the truth. A not-so-obvious application of good modeling involves discussing our moral dilemmas with other adults when our children are within earshot. When our children overhear us talking about temptations, and how we’ve chosen truthfulness over deceit, powerful lessons get locked in.
The Second “E” of Love and Logic: Experience
When children lie, they need to experience logical consequences. One of the most practical involves expecting them to replace any energy they’ve drained from us because of their fibbing. Does lying drain your parental energy? In our audio, Love and Logic Magic: When Kids Drain Your Energy, we teach that children should be responsible for replacing drained energy by completing extra chores, allowing their parents to rest instead of driving them places they want to go, or whatever else might help us regain our energy.
The Third “E” of Love and Logic: Empathy
Those who understand the Love and Logic approach understand that consequences preceded with empathy are far more effective than consequences delivered with anger, guilt, or sarcasm. An added benefit of responding to our children’s mistakes with empathy is that they’ll be far more likely to admit making them. Do you want your children to be afraid of you when they blunder? Do you want them to hide their mistakes rather than bringing them to your attention? Of course you don’t! That’s why it’s so important to discipline with love rather than lectures.
Be sure to provide examples of how you choose to tell the truth and next time you encounter symptoms of Honesty Deficit Disorder in your kids, provide a healthy dose of empathy and then let the consequences do the teaching.
Thanks for reading! If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend. Our goal is to help as many families as possible.
Dr. Charles Fay

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