Don’t call him a liar. Even if he has hidden the truth from you, don’t call him a liar! In the long term, this is a harmful word, because it can affect his self-esteem. So when you learn of his lie, it’s better to tell him something along the lines of: “This is not you. You’re usually honest to me and you don’t lie.”
Be a role model. Even when they play and they seem quite engrossed in their activities, kids still pay attention to the conversations of the grown-ups. So if he finds out you lied, he will do the same. You should create an environment where truth is valued where trust plays an important role.
There should be enough trust between family members so that anyone can admit when they’re wrong or when they did something bad. Being a parent doesn’t exempt you from apologizing to your child and admitting when you were wrong or forgot to do something you promised you would do. When you “shape” the truth and kids figure it out, they will do the same.
Don’t become his accomplice. Even if the two of you are a team, it doesn’t mean you need to hide his mistakes or to lie for him. If he forgets to do his homework, don’t let him convince you to write a note to his teacher telling her that your computer broke down (or something like that).
Your child must know what is expected of him. There’s no alternative to the truth, and your child must understand that in your family honesty is the only way, no matter how serious the matter is. When you child understands your house’s core values and rules, he will step up and tell you the truth. But he also needs to know that you’ll be supportive and that you won’t get mad.
Don’t embarrass him. If he broke a vase, don’t ask him about it in front of everyone (brothers, grandparents, uncles, cousins, schoolmates) and don’t snap at him while trying to get him to admit it. When they’re ashamed, kids tend to lie. So you can go to another room or to a more private place, where he’ll be more comfortable telling you what really happened.
Stories with a point. Even from an early age you can use stories to help him better understand values. A well-known story is that of the shepherd who cried wolf too many times. The child must understand that, eventually, truth always comes out and that it’s easier to fix a problem if you don’t lie about it.
Offer a pardon. Would you be tempted to tell the truth if you knew you’d be sent to a corner or even slapped? Your children won’t be either. Therefore, give him a chance to come to you and admit it without being afraid of harsh punishment. That way, he won’t be afraid of the truth and he will be motivated to admit what he has done. When he’s young, his mistakes can’t be that serious, but the more he grows up, the more important his trust in you will become.
How did you solve the lying problem? Which tricks did you use with your lying child?