How one parent dealt with son starting to lie

Great short story of how one parent possibly solved the problem of a son who was starting to lie to him:

When he was… 4, maybe?… my kid told me he’d brushed his teeth when he clearly hadn’t. I busted him by checking his toothbrush and such, and when I asked him why he’d lied to me (something he’d been starting to do regularly), he just shrugged nonchalantly, with a “what are you gonna do about it?” air.

I was pissed, but I took a breath, decided not to be my father, and just said “well, let’s go to lunch. You said you wanted McDonald’s, right? Do you know what you’re going to get?” And off we went.

Five minutes later we were pulling into the parking lot of the place *I* wanted to eat at. When he protested that I said we were going to McDonald’s, I just shrugged and said “yeah, I lied. Let’s go,” and got out. Thirty seconds later he had made no move to get out of the car, but was still sitting there thunderstruck, the idea that other people could also lie to him clearly dawning on him for the first time ever.
He hasn’t lied to me since.


Creative parenting takes more thought and patience, but it’s not just more effective, it’s more fun.


Some interesting follow up comments:

Good one.. I stopped my two boys from running away from me in a store by hiding from them. I hid and watched them get to the point of slight panic . They never did it again nor did I ever have to worry about losing them. They kept an eye on me.


I did this to teach my dogs to stick close when off-leash hiking. If they got too far ahead I’d hide behind a tree or large rock. Shortly they’d come running back looking for me. I made it their job to keep track of me, not the other way around. Works great.


Doing that for my youngest son, he likes to try and wander off different paths, so I hide and watch him get freaked out a little when he realizes he is “alone”. He stays much closer and listens when I tell him to stay with me.


Quick question about the dogs. How long did it take them to realize they had to find you the first time?


Depending on breed, a few minutes tops. Not husky or alaskan malamute though. You could get mauled by bears and they would be happily playing, miles away from the incident.


Could this technique backfire? If your kid sees you lie, he/she could come to believe its acceptable to do so. Similar with teaching kids not to pinch or hit- if your pinch or hit them back in an attempt to ‘show them it hurts,’ this can potentially teach them that behavior is acceptable. By lying to you kid(s), how are you not teaching them its acceptable? Monkey see, monkey do.


That’s why you follow it up with a discussion to make sure the right message gets through. I didn’t just leave it at “see how it feels?”, we talked about how it’s better for everyone if we can trust each other, and so on. Secondary and mostly unstated was the idea that it’s not a good idea to shit on people who are in a position to have an impact on your life.

Do what works for you (and your child).