Welcome, I am a professional counselor and behavioral-consultant. I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this right now. I'd like to chat with you for a few minutes to better understand the situation and question you are describing.
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Would you mind telling more about the problem? For example, how often does it happen? When is it most likely to happen? Also, would you mind providing me with a clearer question to answer?
For example, is your question: How can I help my daughter to stop making up stories?
What should I do to stop the lying. She makes stuff up all the time and you would not know she is so good at it.
How old is she?
She makes up things she's done that are so ridiculous that you know or my other daughter is around to call her out on it.
Would you mind giving me some typical recent examples about the kinds of stories she makes up?
How often does she make them up?
She is the best reader in the class. She can hold her breath for 5min.
That's wonderful. So she's very smart and a fast learner. That tells us that she can very quickly unlearn the fibbing behavior.
Her sister is just one year older. I know it is for attention and I taught school to children that age and I've never seen anything like it. Very Fequently. You never know. Probably there is a lie in every story she tells.
No she is not the best reader in the class that is just an example of the lies she tells
She is bright enough to be a quick on your feet liar
Sorry I miss read you. Well I've worked as a school board wide behavior consultant and as residential treatment program developer and program psychotherapist. I've had to work with many kids who've had to get over the problem of telling lies....
Usually kids lie because there is some kind of pay off or source of positive reinforcement.
For example, she may have lied about the school cup cakes as a way of getting attention an sympathy from you. Many kids bright kids lie because they don't understand the long term consequences in life and because what they make up looks and sounds so good in their imagination.....
The best positive (behavioral) parenting approaches say that the most important first step is to really understand what the child is getting out of the fibbing behavior (the reward) and to teach them an alternative way of getting that reward or pay off.
I see you're typing so I'll wait for your response. Lets really explore this together to get you a good answer to your question.
One of the most effective parenting interventions I've ever seen related to fibbing had 3 parts...
What she is getting is attention and probably not necessarily the good kind for the reward
Great. so you've identified the negative attention function of the fibbing behavior. Let me share the intervention I mentioned earlier...First, the parent had a real loving heart to heart talk about the fibbing and how it really hurt and frustrated the parent to see the behavior. The talk also explained how harmful the not telling the truth can be. The best time to have such a talk is when the parent and child are in a good mood and when things are going will.
The parent I'm talking about really expressed their love for the child and how important telling the truth was to them. The parent told the child that she knew the child could stop fibbing and that she would when she decided to.
sounds good so far
The parent also made a point of teaching and learning about fibbing. She was good at social stories telling as parent (foster). So she actually made up and shared stories during one on one parent child time about fibbing and how it can and really does harm people. The parent told the stories and created them as she went along, based on her (the parent's) knowledge of her child's strengths and interests....
She told one story for example, about how a little girl was able to save a little dog by telling the truth. The parent knew the little girl loved animals so she made sure there were animals in the story. She told a story about how a child told a lie but then came clean, and really got positive love and attention for telling the truth. Kids can learn and unlearn so much through a parent's sharing or reading stories....
For parent's who are not the best at making up stories there are some great books out there: here's an example: http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Book-About-LYING-Help/dp/B00069WGPW
The idea is to teach and learn about lying when things are positive. That gives the child a positively reinforced (by a parent's love and positive attention) lesson or set of lessons about honesty behaviors that can then be reinforced in the real world.
The next step is too get into what I call "positive scan" and look for truth telling and especially admissions and self-corrections that can then be reinforced with praise etc.
That gets the child the love and attention they need with a good prosocial behavior rather than a bad behavior. Eventually the fibbing fades out and gets replaced with honesty.
So good. Can you suggest some childrens books that she could or we could read together with lessons on lying
let me take a look...
Actually, I just checked. If you scroll down on the amazon link I gave you there are very many great looking books. You can actually press the left and right arrow buttons to see them and decide as a parent which would be best for your daughter. Many books there have reviews by actual customers who have bought them for their children.
There's some good ones there about telling the truth, needing and asking for attention, the importance of doing what parents tell you etc..some great books there!
Well, have I answered your question ok?
I just got your point above too. You could share the reading during that positive one to one time to improve reading at the same time. When you really make the time fun and loving the reading skills will skyrocket too!
should we call her out on the tall tales
You are very welcome. I think the emphasis should be on the positive consequences for positive behavior choices right now and on skills development through reading and teaching about telling the truth first. All of this with real focused love and attention especially during learning time together.
Otherwise she could get caught in that cycle of feeling really bad/anxious about fibbing, which intensifies the negative attention seeking/fibbing to reduce the anxiety.
Once she knows how to make the right choice through strong positive learning and reinforcement for when she does make the right choices, you can then introduce negative consequences for negative behavioral choices. But the best available behavioral approach clearly indicates the use of teaching and positively reinforcing the desired behavior. When you teach through quality time, you are actually reinforcing in your shared play, creativity and imagination together, so the fibbing behavior becomes less likely each time you do.
Does that make sense?
yes it really does. Thank you again
Ok well I wish you and your family the very best. Please don't forget to press the green "accept" button if you've found my answer helpful. I'd also really appreciate your feedback on our expert feedback form. It literally takes 10 seconds. Take care!