Is your child a compulsive liar?
- Jennifer B Baxt LMHC,LMFT, NCC, DCC
It is natural for kids to lie on occasion, but to lie all the time for no reason can cause concern and trouble for the parents. If left untreated, it can cause unrest in the family because trust is broken. No one wants to think that their child is a compulsive liar, but there are some who are. How does one tell if their child is a compulsive liar? Well, they will lie all the time, make up stories, exaggerate, manipulate the truth and hide the truth. While most kids will sometimes lie because they fear getting into trouble, compulsive liars will lie for no apparent reason. They could have told the truth, but they instead felt the need to make up a tall story in place of the truth.
There are many reasons why a child may become a compulsive liar and though many parents of compulsive liars would not want to admit it, they are one of the main reasons why their child has developed the behavior. It could be that in the past, regardless of whether a child told the truth or not, they were yelled at and punished; there was never a reward for telling the truth, so the child learns that if they just lie they might get through the day without punishment. Another reason why a child may develop into a compulsive liar is because they have learned the behavior from somewhere. Most people are well aware that children will learn behavior and habits from their parents because they are who the children look up to as role models, which means that if the parent lies all the time, the child will most likely follow suit. The last reason why a child might become a compulsive liar is because they were encouraged into the behavior, though not intentionally. In this case, the child has told a lie and then was confronted in a hostile manner, which only causes the child to stick to their lie because they are scared of the punishment awaiting them if they tell the truth. A good way to keep out of this cycle is to give the child a chance to tell the truth without the worry of harsh punishment. In most cases, rewarding the child for telling the truth in the form of light punishment after making them understand the wrong they did will encourage them to learn from their mistakes and be more honest in the future.
Parents who are dealing with a child who is a compulsive liar would do best to consult a counselor. Online counselors are available, as well as online family counselors who can help a family deal with the compulsive liar. Dealing with a situation like this will require the effort of both the parents and the child to work together in order to rebuild the trust that has been lost. The online counselor will also work closely with the family to help prevent a relapse in the future. Rebuilding trust that has been lost is never an easy, but it can be done if a family is serious about staying together and improving their relationships with one another so that they can have a happy future together.