Member question:

What is the best way to deal with lying? Telling him that what he is saying is untrue just seems to spark a meltdown. A recent example is he said that he did his homework but his teacher called and said he hasn’t been logging in.


Rachel’s response:

Ugh lying! Not only is it frustrating in the present, but it brings up fears for the future, doesn’t it?!

Unfortunately, as you mentioned, confronting lying directly won’t “work” because lying comes from a place of Yuck. Usually people lie because they’re afraid of the consequences and/or they know they’ve done something wrong and they’re ashamed… and confronting them only makes that Yuck bigger (hence the meltdowns).

In the short term, instead of accusing him of lying you can say, “Let’s talk about how we can handle homework from now on.”

A more long-term solution is to make sure he feels safe enough to acknowledge what he’s done wrong. This could be by thinking about how you react when he misbehaves (we can be both firm and “safe” at the same time) and/or by modeling what it looks like to mess up so that he knows that it’s not something to be ashamed of.