Dear Rachel: I Can’t Stop Lying!
Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell the truth because I feel like I’m going to get in trouble or I may get into a horrible position and I don’t know what to do.
- MT, Fourth Grade
I really appreciate that you took the time to write to me. First, I want you to know that a lot of kids struggle with this same problem. It takes a lot of courage to admit it, so I’m proud of you for doing that!
I have two suggestions for you. First, take a piece of paper and make two columns. At the top of one, write “+” and on the other side write “-”—these will represent positives and negatives. Then, I want you and your parent sit down and write the positives and negatives of lying. So, if the benefit of lying is that you don’t get in trouble, write that under the positives, and if a disadvantage of lying is that it makes you feel bad, write that under negatives.
I think you will find that when you lie a lot, the feelings of guilt and worry start to build up inside you. Even though it is hard to admit when you are wrong, it does get easier over time, and it makes those bad feelings go away faster.
Here’s one more piece of advice. Every day for one week, I want you and your Mom to talk about something you wish you could have done better that day. It could be very small, like you wish you had recycled a bottle, or you wish you had spent a little more time on your homework. If you do this every day for a week, you will get “better” at admitting your mistakes. It’s kind of like weight lifting. The more you do it, the stronger you get. And the more comfortable you are reflecting on your actions, the easier it will be to understand yourself.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes!