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How To Recover When Your Child Lies To You

I don’t know anyone who’s like, “OMG! I love liars!!” so when I say that I can’t stand a liar, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. When most people lie to you, you have the option to cut them out of your life or forgive and keep it moving. But when your kids lie to you? Well, that recovery is not that easy. 

We Aren’t Talking The Little White Lies Either

You know the kind. Where you ask your kid if they brushed their teeth and they’re like “Yes!” But then they get the “I don’t believe you” look and they’re all like, “Ok, I didn’t but I’m going to now”. Those are pretty easy to bounce back from. The lie was told and then immediately the truth followed. Easy breezy. These lessons are simple: stop lying, just tell the truth. 

But what happens when your kid tells you a super big lie? 

You Get In Your Feelings

Listen, Drake isn’t the only one who has feelings around here. Mini told me a BIG lie recently. Ok, not like this month–definitely over a month ago–so this is still pretty fresh for me. As she stood there lying to my face while I held the truth in, there were a couple of thoughts that crossed my mind:

  • How did we get to this place that she prefers to lie to me than just tell me the truth? 
  • If she were as committed to the truth as she was to this lie things would be way easier right now. 
  • I can’t believe she’s STILL lying to me. She has to know that I know the truth by now. 
  • I. Am. Flabbergasted. 

But friends, the one thing I didn’t really realize was that I was HURT! My feelings were legit hurt that my daughter would lie to me the way that she did. I had no clue how we went from her telling me all of the things to now her lying and then trying to manipulate others to keep this lie up. I couldn’t believe it. 

Why I Was Hurt

See, with Mini I was a single mom for a bit with her so we have a special bond. That’s my girl. She’s intuitive and stans for her mom. And the feeling is mutual. I may fuss at her hard but I will break my back to make everything she wants in life happen. I’ve worked really hard to make sure that she could always come to me with the fullness of her truth and I would love her through it so for her to deliver this big, fat lie to me? Man. I cried. 

I know, it’s not something that we as parents should take personally because it doesn’t always have to do with us. Kids lie and they fabricate stories as part of their development. But that doesn’t mean that my feelings still don’t get hurt as we’re learning and growing–I’m still a person. 

How Do You Recover From The Lying?

I didn’t think we would ever recover, yet we have. After running through the gambit of emotions from hella petty (God isn’t done with me yet) to sad to disbelief, I got myself together so I could get my daughter back to a place where she knows that I’m her number 1 cheerleader. This is what I did: 

1. I expressed my feelings to her.

I’m learning that kids don’t think their words and actions affect us. Yes, I will always love her but that doesn’t mean that I won’t have other feelings. After I pinpointed all the feelings I had and why I had them, I shared them with her. Along with sharing how I felt, I told her why I felt these things. If I expect her to be able to present her truths to me, I’ve got to model the behavior with her. Vulnerability is a strength in parenting. 

2. I took away her privileges. 

I wouldn’t say punishment because we still did things. But she wasn’t allowed on technology without direct supervision and a lot of her responsibilities were stripped. Mini loves to help and do anything that let’s us spend quality time together. So she had to earn these things back. 

3. I patiently reinforced the lessons. 

Something I want all my kids to know is that a lie is a lie–no matter how big or small or even if it’s just deception. It’s a lie. And it’s not something that we should practice. I can always tell when she’s lying so I would intentionally ask her questions that would give her the opportunity to tell the truth. She had gotten into the habit of lying and this was evident so I put her in situations that she could practice telling the truth. It was REALLY tough at first. Like really hard. I couldn’t believe how comfortable she was with just telling a lie. 

4. I forgave her–and myself. 

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for me to do, especially of myself. She’s going to make mistakes. I know this. But it’s my job to teach her how to rebound from these mistakes by learning your lessons. I gave her a lot of leeway because she’d shown she could handle it. Naturally I second-guessed everything I did and questioned my ability to mother her. Yes, a bit dramatic but I take mothering very seriously. I forgave myself for beating myself up and not being as attentive as I should have been. But more importantly I showed her what forgiveness looks like. None of are perfect and we all deserve forgiveness. 

5. I’m giving her space to grow from the experience. 

Once a liar, not always a liar. She has so much learning and growing to do. She’s really an amazing kid who has the potential to be so much greater than I am. But if I want that for her, I can’t allow the mistakes she makes along the way to define her. Yes, this means no petty moments of bringing up old things. I believe she’s gotten a great lesson about lying but an even greater lesson about her mom’s love. 

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. This things is SO hard and consistently presents challenges to you. I’ve never been so passionate or insecure about something in my whole life. I just want to do right by my kids and not be the reason they’re in therapy in years to come. 

I hope this helped if you’re dealing with something similar to this. And if something else has worked for you, drop a tip or two below for fellow mamas!

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