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We have three children that live at home. Their ages range from eleven to sixteen. Whenever something goes wrong around the house, something is missing, or something is broken, I can tell you exactly who did the deed. They are the invisible twins that also live at our house. Their names are “I dunno” and “Not me.” Trying to get the truth out of the three real children is always a chore so I took a survey. Here are some of the responses I received.

Ways to tell when they are lying

· Some children stutter.
· Some cannot look the parent directly in
the eye without laughing.
· Some children will look off to the side
instead of to your face. I’ve seen this
in my own children. It has something to
do with how the brain works. I’ve heard
police also use this body language.
· Some children hesitate when telling you
the answer.
· Some child will deny everything all of
the time. One of my sons feels this way
he will never get caught.
· My mother’s favorite was to ask me when I
was asleep. It was unfortunate for me
that I talked in my sleep.

Ways to make them quit or the “Punishment”

· Grounding.
· Taking away privileges.
· Taking away toys, music, computer, or
video games.
· Remind them that they will get into more
trouble for lying than telling the truth.
· Fining them. This works well when your
child is saving for something special.

It depends on what the ages of the children and what is important in their lives.

· If you have a child that is the social
butterfly, not allowing them to see their
friends is a great deterrent.
· If you have a child that loves to stay at
home, taking away something they often do
at home is a deterrent.
· Take away the radio or CD’s from your
music maniac.
· My daughter loves her cartoons. It is
the first thing to go when I think she is
lying to me.

Quite a few parents told the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf to their younger children. I think you are getting the drift.

My favorite response was from Helen Polaski. She was raised in a family of sixteen.

When something happened and no one would speak up, I would take him or her aside separately. I would hold my hands out and the child would take them. Then we would look into each other’s eyes and I repeated the question. I did this with each child. When I was finished, I brought them all together again and told them. I knew which one was the guilty party--I could see it in their eyes. Then very matter of factly I would say that the entire party was to be punished, as a further punishment to the guilty party--because they knew who they were, too. Then I explained that the rest of the group would have to suffer needlessly because this one person in the group was selfish. But always stress that you are interested in the truth. That telling the truth--even when it is something very bad--will always be better and less punishable than the punishment for lying. Then it was time-out for everyone until the confessor came forward. And they always confessed.

There are several age appropriate punishments. You just have to find the way that works best for you and your child. At time, my children would be punished and guess who suffered? Me. I try not to ground them so often because ultimately I was the one who was punished. Avoid this at all costs.

I have found what will work great one time, won’t work at all the next time. Sometimes you have to keep trying punishments until you find the one that will work at that time for that particular child.