Confronting a Child Who Has Lied

Kids sometimes lie. They do so for many reasons (to avoid punishment, because of embarrassment, because of an overactive imagination and so on), but no matter why they do it, parents must know what to do to help them stop doing it. The way a parent confronts a lying youngster can make the difference between whether that child lies less or more in the future.

If you know or suspect that your child has been lying, consider the following tips:

Consider Your Child’s Motivation for Lying
Is your child lying in order to protect someone else (“Sarah’s parents don’t want her spending time with her boyfriend so I agreed to pretend that she and I were going to Karen’s house to sleep over.”)? Is he or she lying in order to avoid an unpleasant task (“No I don’t have any homework tonight”)? Is the lie designed to avoid punishment (“No I didn’t break the vase.”) Perhaps the lie is meant to avoid embarrassment (“Yes I passed all my subjects”).

Think about the possible reason for the lie BEFORE you confront the child. This can help you be more effective in using Emotional Coaching – the naming and accepting of the child’s feelings. Emotional coaching makes the child feel understood and accepted instead of defensive. It helps the child WANT to hear what you have to say and WANT to cooperate with you. Emotional coaching reduces defiance and deception. An example of emotional coaching for a child who wants to protect her friend, might be the following, “You’re a very good friend to Sarah and of course you don’t want her to get into trouble with her parents. I know you are trying to help her.”

After providing this kind of acknowledgment of her motivations and feelings, you can then go on to give instruction and correction: “The problem is that Sarah’s parents love her probably even more than you do and they make certain rules for her because they want to protect her. This issue is really between Sarah and her parents and it’s not right for you to get involved. Most importantly, Sarah is asking you to lie for her, which isn’t what a good friend does. Good friends bring out the best in each other and don’t encourage each other to become worse people. Sarah is asking you to harm your relationship with US in order to help her continue to defy her parents. I don’t think that this is fair of her to ask you, but you have to decide that for yourself. The only thing that we want you to know is that if you lie to us in the future, you will certainly erode our trust in you and that will not be good for your relationship with us. Right now we give you lots of privileges and free reign because we trust you –  but that could all change if you continue to be dishonest.”

Notice that this approach appeals to the parent-child relationship and also appeals to logic. The “punishment” implicit here is damage to the relationship. This approach works particularly well with adolescents. It is possible to combine Emotional Coaching with discipline, however, as might be appropriate for a child who lies about his uncompleted homework. “I know you don’t enjoy doing homework and I fully sympathize with you. It’s a lot more fun to play games on the computer. However, when you lie about completing your homework you may be compromising your grades and I don’t want that to happen. Therefore, in the future when I find that you are lying about the amount of homework you have you will lose computer privileges for 48 hours.”

Avoid Anger
One of the most common reasons kids lie is to avoid parental wrath. Often kids grow up and become adults who lie to their spouses because they expect – based on childhood experiences with their parents – that making mistakes can get them into BIG trouble. Encourage truth-telling by keeping your confrontations quiet, respectful and low-key. Effective discipline (like the 2X-Rule described in detail in Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice) replaces the need for anger. You can use the 2X-Rule to give appropriate, moderate discipline when necessary. Consider the following example:

You discover that $100.00 is missing from your purse. You are certain your son took it because you see that he has a new gadget that he told you his friend bought for him as a gift and you know that this particular gadget costs around $80.00 – and you are pretty sure none of his friends would spend that kind of money on him. How do you get him to acknowledge what he did and make restitution? Not by getting mad! In fact, the madder you get, the more likely it is that your son will lie to you in the future in order to avoid your anger. Instead, you can follow these steps:

  • Speaking very quietly and slowly, refraining from drama or emotion, you confront him by saying something like, “I have good reason to believe that you took $100.00 out of my purse last week.”
  • If your son denies it, look him in the eye and very slowly repeat your statement with minor modifications: “It’s possible that I’m wrong – I didn’t have a camera rolling – but I’m fairly certain you took it. I put the money in the purse late Wednesday night, didn’t move the purse, and discovered it missing Thursday morning at sunrise, before anyone came into the house. Only God knows for sure what happened to it so I’ll just say this: If you did take that money, I’m going to assume it was a mistake and that  you will find a way to put it back in my purse some time over the next few  days and that  you’ll never do such a thing again. However, if you really didn’t take it, then I don’t want you to replace it. Just be honest with yourself and with me. I’ll assume that if you don’t replace it, you never took it to begin with and this is my mistake – for which I am apologizing in advance. However, if money ever goes missing from my purse again, the whole family will have to go for family counseling to discover what is going on in our house.

Do Not Trap a Child into Admitting the Truth
Suppose you just learned that your daughter lied to you about the location of a party she was attending. She knew that you didn’t want her to go to parties with certain kids and in fact, the party she wanted to go to was at one of those kid’s houses – so she gave you a different address. When a friend telephones for your daughter, she accidentally reveals the actual address of the party. Now you know for a fact that your daughter lied. When your daughter returns home, DO NOT play questioning games designed to trap her in her lie. For instance, let’s say she told you that the party was at Erica’s house. Do not do something like this: “How’s Erica? How’s her mom and dad? Were they at the party? Did you say hello to them for us?” and so on. Being sneaky with your kids just encourages them to be sneaky back to you!

Instead, be straight: “We know that the party was not at Erica’s house – it was at Ian’s place. You lied to us.” Continue with Emotional Coaching: “I guess you knew we wouldn’t be pleased and you felt you just had to go, so the only way to make it happen was to lie.” Continue with education and information: Do you think that we are trying to hurt you when we ask you not to go to parties with those kids? What do you think our motivation is? Do you think we are too protective?” Do not be hostile or sarcastic when asking these questions. You are simply trying to help your youngster think through what she has done. You want her to conclude that you love her and you are trying to help her. If she insists that you are well-intentioned but misguided (“You don’t know them Mom! Sure they drink too much, but they’re really nice and they don’t drive when they’re drunk so there’s really no problem!”), let her know that you cannot agree to allow her to do things you think are life-threatening, illegal or immoral. If she does these things, there will be negative consequences, but if she lies and does them, the consequences will be much greater. This method works only when the relationship between you and your child is a good one. If you are too strict, controlling or critical, your child will be more likely to defy you because there is very little to lose. If, on the other hand, you are loving, warm and positive, the child will not want to risk losing your affection and support and will be more likely to comply with your requests.

Avoid Excessive Punishment
Even when you have to discipline a child for lying, be careful to choose moderate negative consequences. Always warn the child before giving a punishment (“From now on, if I find that you have lied, such & such consequence will occur.”). Punishments that are too intense are more likely to backfire, causing the child to lie more in the future in order to avoid harsh punishments (see “Avoid Anger” above for a similar problem). For a selection of reasonable punishments, see Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice.

When There is a Chronic Pattern of Lying
If you find that your child is lying frequently rather than on rare occasions, your child has a problem that requires your attention. Again, anger and upset on your part will be counterproductive – destructive instead of helpful. Instead, express sadness that there is a serious problem. (“It seems that you don’t feel comfortable being honest with me. I can see we have a serious problem here that we have to address.”) Arrange for professional assistance in the form of family counselling. A therapist can help help discover the reasons for a child’s persistent dishonesty and develop an effective treatment plan.

Your Teen’s Right to Privacy

Today’s teenagers live in a world that their parents often find scary and alien. It seems that there are no protective walls around their youngsters – computers and cellphones open them to a wide world of exposure and vulnerability that the parents don’t even fully understand. Moreover, cialis teens are more independent and are physically away from their parents more hours of the day and night. Parents are losing a grip – they no longer control or even know, what their child is up to. Many take to looking for clues as to their child’s whereabouts and activities, while others insist on constant check-ins and reports on the who, where, what & why of all activities. But how much does a parent really need to know about his or her teen’s activities? How far do the parent’s rights extend – does the parent have the right to full disclosure of all a teenager’s comings and goings? Does a teen have any right to privacy?

If you’re wondering where to draw the line on your teen’s privacy, consider the following tips:

Everyone is Entitled to Personal Space
It is healthy for every child to have a sense of privacy. This helps the youngster develop appropriate personal boundaries, a sense of “me” vs. “you” that helps the child come to know who she is and what she stands for – with the subsequent ability to stand up for one’s OWN values and beliefs. Privacy is attained by maintaining physical privacy – the ability to dress and bathe in privacy and the ownership of a private space (a bed, maybe a bedroom, a private wardrobe, personal possessions that are not for the use of others without permission). Your teenager is at an age where it is inappropriate to rummage through her drawers or belongings. Unless you suspect your teen is hiding drugs, weapons or other dangerous possessions, you have no right to search her belongings. In fact, the kind of privacy you should give your teen is the privacy he or she deserves. If your teen has grown up to be responsible, caring, and trustworthy, then there is no reason for you to watch his or her every move or even suspect impropriety.

Talk about Life
Raise interesting issues for discussion at your dinner table. Raise topics from your weekly news magazine or paper. Talk about what’s going on in the world and in your local community. Talk about violence, crime, sexuality, bullying, materialism, fashion, addictions, war – everything that is out there. Help your kids think about life and clarify their own values. Provide education in discussion format – not lectures and dire warnings. This will help your teen make good, healthy choices.

Be a Good Listener
Kids who can talk about their stresses tend to act out less. Instead of turning to drugs, stealing, sex or other distracting unhealthy activities, your child can turn to YOU for support, approval, comfort and nurturing. Work hard to listen without offering criticism or even education. Just show compassion and trust for your youngster, conveying that you believe in him or her.

Confront Untrustworthy Behavior
Catching under-aged teens drinking alcohol or stashing inappropriate materials are reasons to initiate an intervention, but this response has to be done appropriately. If the disturbing behavior is mild, parental intervention alone may be sufficient – heart to heart talks, discussion concerning consequences and other normal parenting strategies can be employed. If the offence is recurrent, however, or if it is serious, then it’s best to enlist professional assistance. Speak to your doctor for a referral to a mental health practitioner.

After your child has acted in an untrustworthy manner, it is tempting to “check up on him” from time to time. However, acting in a sneaky way is likely to backfire at some point. Don’t do anything that you don’t want your youngster to do. Therefore, if you don’t want to find your youngster searching your purse or your private drawers, refrain from that kind of behavior also. If you don’t want your youngster checking your email or social feeds, don’t do it to him. If something in your child’s demeanor makes you feel concerned, talk about it openly. It’s fine to ask your child to show you (on the spot) his last string of communications with friends if you have serious reason to suspect dangerous or illegal activity on his part. Otherwise, never ask for such a thing.

Some kids who are addicts will act in deviant and sneaky  ways because of their addiction. Work with a professional addiction counselor to create appropriate interventions in the home. If checking on the child is recommended by the counselor, then of course, follow the recommendation.

Checking In
For reasons of common courtesy and safety, it’s reasonable for your teen to let you know when and where he is going. Depending on the age of the teen, it will also be appropriate to ask permission to go there! If you have curfews in place, it is important to expect the teen to comply with them or renegotiate them to everyone’s satisfaction. However, once your teen is out and about, it is intrusive to call and check on him or her. If the child is traveling a long distance, it’s fine for him to call to say he’s arrived (i.e. he has taken a flight), but you don’t need him to call for local trips to friend’s houses. On the other hand, if your thirteen year-old daughter has to walk a few blocks alone in the dark to her destination, you might ask her to call – it depends on the safety of the area in which she is walking.

Act as if your child is completely trustworthy unless your child shows you otherwise. If there is a problem, sit down and try to work it through, explaining your concerns and working towards solutions. If this is insufficient, enlist the help of a professional family therapist. If the child is acting out – engaging in inappropriate and/or dangerous activities – do consider bringing a mental health professional into the picture.

Extreme Misbehavior – Conduct Disorder

Even before stepping into high school, John had already accumulated a laundry list of offenses. He had been involved in bullying, vandalism, fire setting, stealing, and fighting, among other aggressive or illegal activities. As if these antisocial behaviors weren’t enough, John also had other issues like abusing alcohol and prescription drugs, and threatening his parents with violence.  At 14, he was arrested for assault, and placed in a juvenile correction facility.

John has Conduct Disorder, a mental health condition believed to affect 3-10% of American children and adolescents. Conduct Disorder or CD is characterized by persistent patterns of antisocial behavior, behavior that violates the rights of others and breaks rules and laws. While most kids have natural tendencies towards episodes of lying, belligerence and aggression, children and teenagers with Conduct Disorder exhibit chronic and inflexible patterns of gross misbehavior and violence. Conduct Disorder is a serious disorder of behavior and not simply an overdose of the sort of ordinary mischief or misbehavior that all children get into. It is characterized by repetitive, consistent antisocial behavior that is not responsive to normal parenting interventions.

Conduct Disorder manifests in aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violations of rule such as running away, using dangerous weapons, skipping school and classes, ignoring curfews and so on. Symptoms cause severe impairment in the child’s personal, academic or social life. Conduct Disorder occurs more often among males than among females and usually coexists with other mental health conditions such as substance abuse, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, learning disorders, and depression.

What it’s Like for Parents
Conduct Disorder poses one of the greatest sources of grief and stress among parents. Symptoms can start out looking relatively normal, involving “misbehavior” such as chronic arguments with parents, disobedience and even hyperactivity. But as time goes by the gravity of the symptoms tend to escalate, alongside with their frequency. Temper tantrums can become actual episodes of violence and assault; lying to parents can become stealing from friends and classmates; and lack of respect for privacy at home can become breaking and entering somebody else’s home. Conduct Disorders can lead to cases of rape and sexual abuse, even homicide. If left untreated, Conduct Disorders can evolve into the adult disorder known as Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Receiving calls from teachers, principals and even the local police station, are common occurrences for parents of conduct disordered children and teens. Usually, there are many fruitless attempts to discipline or moderate a child’s behavior. Even counseling is insufficient because the biological nature of the disorder necessitates medical treatment as well. Because kids and teens with Conduct Disorder  suffer from a lack of empathy and emotional responsiveness, parents rarely get through to their child on their own.

What can Parents Do?
The good news is that there is hope for treating Conduct Disorders, and many programs have been found effective in both managing symptoms and restoring functionality. However, treatment is usually slow and complex. Indeed, Conduct Disorder is one of the most difficult behavioral disorders to treat. Recovery generally requires time and a combination of many different treatment approaches including different types of therapy, education, behavioral interventions and medications.

What can Help?
Early intervention helps increase the likelihood of successful treatment, which is why parents should act promptly when they notice antisocial behavior in their children. CD often begins as ODD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, a condition characterized by lack of respect for authority. Lack of empathy is also a risk factor, alongside a family history of antisocial and/or criminal behavior.

As part of a comprehensive treatment program, traditional counseling and therapy interventions can go a long way, particularly those that aims to teach positive social skills such as communication, empathy and conflict management. Emotional management techniques, such as anger management interventions can also help. Sensitivity training, especially those at residential camps where kids and teens can interact with peers (and sometimes animals like horses), have also been known to be effective.

Parents are also encouraged to join family therapy sessions and Parent Management Training or PMT. Family therapy can surface systemic factors that cause and reinforce antisocial behavior in children. Family therapy can also help parents establish more effective forms of guidance and discipline, and teach parents how to respond to disruptive and defiant behaviors.

Because of the biological factor in Conduct Disorders, getting pharmacological help is important as well. A psychiatrist can help plan the appropriate drug therapy for a child or teenager with Conduct Disorder. In addition, a psychiatrist can help manage the child’s overall program of therapy and specific interventions. Sometimes the best source of help for children with Conduct Disorder is a specialized children’s mental health treatment center where many different types of professionals offer services under one roof and the child’s program can be coordinated through one department. Ask your doctor for a referral to such a center for diagnosis and treatment of your child.

Kleptomania

People often assume that a thief steals for a reason. However, link the truth is that stealing doesn’t always have a practical purpose and not everyone who steals is a “thief” in the true sense of that word. A child may be caught stealing something he doesn’t really want nor need, pharm something he already has, or something of very little value. A child may also steal for the sake of stealing, not because of a need for attention, a desire for revenge or a show of inadequacy. When someone steals without any obvious gain, it is possible that he or she is suffering from a mental health condition called kleptomania.

What is Kleptomania?
Kleptomania is a mental health condition characterized by a strong urge to steal, and a feeling of relief after stealing. It’s an impulse-control disorder, similar to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, where the patient suffers from persistent thoughts and repetitive patterns of behavior. Kleptomania usually has its onset in young adulthood, but there are cases of kids as young as 5 years old with Kleptomania.

Are Kleptomaniacs Criminals?
Kleptomania must be distinguished from the criminal act of stealing, or the willful and knowing theft of someone else’s property. People with Kleptomania steal not because they want to, but because they feel they have to. They experience extreme anxiety when they do not give in to the behavior of stealing, and stealing is the only way they can get relief. They know that what they do is wrong, but they can’t help it. In fact, many kleptomaniacs steal things that have little value, such as paper clips or tissue paper rolls. They may also return what they have stolen afterwards, as they are not particularly interested in the stolen object itself, but rather the act of stealing.

How is Kleptomania Treated?
The dynamics behind Kleptomania point to how the condition should be handled by parents, teachers and helping professionals.

It’s recommended that Kleptomaniacs (those who suffer from Kleptomania) not be punished for their stealing, as they have a mental health condition that needs help and healing – not punishment. In fact, many researchers argue that Kleptomania, like all impulse-control issues, may have a physiological origin. Abnormally low amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain may be the cause of Kleptomania.

Counseling is an appropriate first response to a child with Kleptomania. Except for really young children, people with Kleptomania are aware that what they are doing is dysfunctional and they are often stressed, even depressed, about what they are going through. Helping a child vent his or her feelings over the inability to control impulses is a good start.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has been known to assist children with Kleptomania in managing their urges and compulsion. Skills in stress and anxiety management are also helpful, as it is stress and anxiety that often compel a kleptomaniac to steal. Gradually sensitizing a child to the impact of stealing on other people can also be a way to help kids with Kleptomania manage their condition.

When therapy alone fails to cure the condition, psychotropic medicine of the type used for obsessive-compulsive disorder may be prescribed.

Child Lies to Parents

It is very disappointing for a parent to discover that his or her child has lied. There’s anger at having been deceived and also a sense of betrayal; all parents want a trusting bond with their kids. And then there’s the constant doubt: if my child can lie to me about one subject, what other things has he lied about in the past and what is he lying about now? Indeed, a child’s first incident of lying can snowball into many other issues.

The good news is that lying to parents is something that can be addressed. Lying is a behavior, not a character trait. Parents can address this behavior in many ways, helping their youngster to become a more honest human being.

To help your child who has been lying, consider the following tips:

Confront Your Child with an Open Mind
If you suspect that your child has been lying to you, approach the subject cautiously. Don’t just rush up and call your child a liar! This is not the time for drama. Instead, consider the possibility that your child was confused or was given inaccurate information or forgot to give you pertinent information or made a simple mistake. The best approach is to objectively confront the inconsistencies in his story and ask for clarification. “I don’t understand… you’re telling me that you were with Jason at 9 p.m. but Jason called here at 8:45 looking for you. His phone showed a long distance number. Didn’t you tell me that Jason was going to the country with his parents this weekend? Was he calling from there?” This gives your child a chance to straighten things out for you: “Yes Jason’s family went to the country, but Jason stayed here in the end. He was calling from John’s phone which has a long distance number on it because John lives in Idaho but is in town for the weekend for his Aunt’s 90th birthday party. Jason was calling at 8:45 to tell me that he’d meet me at his house at 9 p.m. but I was already waiting for him on his porch by then. He showed up right at 9.” Of course, your child is not always innocent. However, your gentle confrontation will make it easier for him to confess when he has to. For instance, if the child in this scenario had lied about being at Jason’s house at 9, he could now straighten that out: “Yeah, I said I was with Jason because I thought you’d be mad if I told you the truth. I was with Sara. I know you told me not to see her again, but I really, really want to. I don’t want to have to lie about it because I feel crummy when I do that. I want to be able to tell you without you getting all upset.” Because you had been gentle in your approach, the child is not frightened into excessive defensiveness or worse, more lying.

Try to Find the Reason for the Lie
When a child lies, it’s important for parents to try to find out why. Addressing the reason why a child lies is a good way to prevent future lying behavior. Note that not all lying has a malicious intent. Sometimes children lie because they fear their parent’s reaction. Others lie to avoid conflict or confrontation. There are kids who lie to protect a sibling, or save themselves from embarrassment. If you can create a home atmosphere where telling the truth is always preferred compared to telling a lie, then your child will feel less of a need to lie to you the next time. One way to create this atmosphere is to be careful never to show intense anger when a child acknowledges wrong-doing. When the child sees that it is natural for people to make mistakes and correct them, then he won’t be afraid to confess to his own errors. However, when making a mistake in judgment and/or actions leads to parental rage and abuse, the child will be sure to try to avoid admitting errors at all cost. He’ll lie.

Emphasize Why Honesty is a Value in Your Family
It’s important that parents consistently explain to children why they prefer to hear the truth rather than a lie. Doing so can help prevent the “it’s-just-a-tiny-lie” mentality. Explain how your trust is broader than a small incident; for instance, share why saving one’s self from punishment is not worth a parent’s inability to trust a child’s word. Kids need to know that a rule is in place for a reason, a reason that is meant to protect not oppress. All information needs to be provided quietly and respectfully. It has to convey care and love. Do not deliver loud, angry sermons about the importance of truth-telling. All parental anger encourages rather than discourages, lying.

Reinforce Positive Behavior
Younger children are sometimes prone to thinking: “What’s the point of telling the truth? You never believe me anyway!” So reward and praise truth-telling as much as you can. And even if you have to implement negative consequences for misbehavior (for example, your child just admitted that he or she is the one who stole your money), still communicate how glad you are that they told you the truth. When children know that their effort to be honest is appreciated and they can trust that they won’t experience parental abuse or even harsh negative consequences, they are less likely to lie the next time. Instead of focusing on punishment for the wrongdoing, focus on correction or restitution. Help the child do better. If, despite your calm and positive approach, he continues to engage in undesirable behaviors, try to work out negative consequences WITH him – i.e. ask him to suggest what punishment should be in place for future episodes of incorrect behavior. If he still continues to behave badly, make an appointment with a mental health professional for more direction and intervention.

Discipline Lying
Give a penalty for lying. If your child does something wrong, he may require discipline. However, if he has also lied about his wrong-doing, the punishment can be doubled. The child will learn that he can save himself half the punishment by speaking the truth. For instance, suppose your child smoked cigarettes after you asked him not to. The punishment you already had set in place was that he would lose one week’s allowance if he was caught with cigarettes. If, when you question him about his smoking, he admits the truth (“Yeah, I was smoking yesterday”), then he loses one week’s allowance. However, if he swears up and down that he didn’t smoke (and you caught him on your cell phone camera with a cigarette in his mouth), then he loses two week’s allowance. In this way, the child can learn that truth-telling really pays off. Again, if despite your best efforts your child continues to lie, you should consult a mental health professional for further intervention.

Tells Tall Tales

“Last week we went on this huge trip to Africa. It was great. I got to see a real live elephant. Oh, and I shook hands with a tribal leader!”

Children have amazing imaginations. They can come up with the most fantastic stories, with attention to even the smallest of details. But while storytelling is a skill to be admired, lying and spinning tales is not. Lying to friends can become so addictive an activity, that by the time children experience the negative consequences of their behavior, they might already have developed a strong bad habit.

It’s important for parents to try to understand their child’s  motivation for lying. Knowing the reasons behind the behavior can help parents find alternative, healthier ways for their child to get his or her needs met.

What are the reasons that children lie to their friends and what can parents do about it? Consider the following tips:

They Want to Make Themselves Appear More Interesting
Sometimes kids lie because it gives them attention that they enjoy from peers. An otherwise shy and boring lad can become an instant celebrity with a few embellishments to his tale. And the more lies “work,” the more tempting it is tell another make-believe story.

What can parents do? It’s important to communicate to a child that lying to get friends is actually counter-productive. At some point, other kids are going to discover that the stories are not true, and this could result in your child getting abandoned or socially ostracized. There are healthier ways of getting attention, such as starting a stimulating conversation about books read, movies seen, computer clips viewed, games played, etc. If a child’s social skills can be developed, there’ll be no need to lie to make and maintain friends. For instance, a child can be taught to share true stories or learn to respond with enthusiasm and interest to other people’s stories. A child can learn to tell the occasional joke (help your child to realize that this skill has to be limited to appropriate times and places and used only in moderation). Parents can find children’s social skills books in the library (or ask the children’s librarian for assistance). The books can be used to educate and stimulate both discussion and role-playing. In addition, there are special social skills groups for children and teens and there are also teachers and therapists who specialize in helping children develop better social skills.

They Want to Get Sympathy
Kids may also lie to friends in order to gain pity or assistance. For example, they may say that their experiencing a serious illness, or they are having difficulty in a particular task or subject. Sympathy is also a form of attention, and being able to get attention through lying makes spinning these kinds of tales very addictive.

What can parents do? Lying to get sympathy can be a sign of insecurity in a child. The sense of inferiority and helplessness may be real, requiring professional attention. A consultation with a mental health professional may be appropriate.

They Feel Ashamed
There are occasions when kids lie because they feel ashamed or embarrassed about an aspect of themselves or their family. For instance, a child who attends a school largely populated by affluent kids may feel compelled to lie about a parent’s blue collar job, the house he lives in, the car the parents drive or the so-called vacations his family takes.

What can parents do? Sometimes parents can work on building family pride in non-material ways. For instance, fostering a strong religious faith has given many families a strong identity, community membership and sense of confidence. Also, taking steps to help children feel self-confident in general will help combat feelings of inadequacy or shame. Follow the 80-20 Rule, giving your child 80% good-feeling communications like praise, affection, humor and empathy –  and strongly limiting criticism and anger. A home filled with laughter and love can certainly contribute to a child’s sense of wholeness and inner stability. Of course, some children are simply insecure by nature even though their parents are generous with positive feedback and affection. If children are suffering from intense feelings of inadequacy for any reason, professional treatment can help foster greater self-acceptance and personal confidence.

Online Piracy

If you’re a parent born before the age of file-sharing and digital commodity, cialis then illegal downloading may not be in your list of crimes and misdemeanors. Unfortunately, sales illegal downloading is a common offense among children and adolescents. With the ease and privacy of uploading and downloading information today, respect for intellectual property is becoming a thing of the past.

What is Illegal Downloading?
Illegal downloading is the practice of accessing and obtaining a copy of digital products – such as software, songs, movies, documents and electronic books – from sources not authorized to distribute them. Illegal downloading is usually done through the help of file sharing sites and file sharing software, one of which is the now defunct Napster. More often than not, people who upload digital files for others to download are not selling the products, so they don’t earn a cent from the upload. However, the practice robs the copyright owners of recognition and payment for their work.

Why Should Parents be Concerned?
Illegal downloading is tantamount to stealing, as owners of the original work do not get recognized nor paid for their products. Illegal downloads is believed to be responsible to more than 50% of loss revenue for people whose business involves producing digital products.

This loss has resulted to a government crackdown on illegal downloaders. While the task of identifying and apprehending all illegal downloaders is impossible, some states do fine and/or incarcerate offenders they can catch — making arrest a real risk if your child engages in the activity.

Illegal downloading also puts patrons at risk for computer viruses, unsolicited ads, file theft and child pornography. Many cyber criminals like child molesters, cyber bullies and identity thieves also regularly patrol illegal downloading sites for their victims.

Educate Your Child about the Nature of Illegal Downloading
Many kids are not aware that illegal downloading is wrong. This is mostly because of the culture of “everyone does it” and the misconception that the act is “victimless.” After all, how can something be illegal when the site that promotes illegal downloading is right out in the open?

As a parent, it’s important that you educate your child regarding the amount of hard work and money involved when producing a digital product. A recording artist, for example, needs to pay a lyricist, a band, a mixer, an arranger and studio staff just to produce a single song. There are also incidental fees such as the cost of promoting and distributing a single. If, say 1,000 people illegally downloads their song, they may not get enough revenue to cover their overhead cost! This may result in the artist leaving the industry for good, or producing only substandard work.

Emphasize Respect for Other People’s Property in Everything You Do
One great value to teach our kids is respect of people’s property. In the same way that you don’t want your child to take someone else’s car or jewelry, you don’t want him or her to take ideas and efforts not their own. By clearly communicating the value of ownership, even in little thing such as items belonging to siblings, a parent can protect their children against illegal downloading.

Warn about the Legal Repercussions
Teach your kids about the possible repurcussions of illegal downloading, including costs, penalities and fines and possibly even lawsuits. Note that there are real people and industries jeopardized by illegal downloading, and they will not stop their advocacy to eliminate the practice. With technology developing more and more everyday, who is to say that illegal downloading can be hidden in the future? The act is not as private as people think, as exemplified by increasing arrests for the crime.

Direct Your Child to Legal Downloading Sites
If they really need or want good music or software, kids are not without options. The advent of iTunes and similar services has made buying singles or episodes instead of albums possible, making songs and TV shows quite affordable for children and adolescents. Open source software is also here, providing free alternatives to branded ones. Some artists do allow their material to be downloaded for free, especially for promotional purposes. Fortunately, free, legal downloading sites, that earn their dollars through advertisements, are gaining popularity, making illegal downloading unnecessary.

Takes Siblings Belongings

“Mom! Laurie stole my hairbrush!”

“I did not!”

“You did too! Who else would take it?”

“I just borrowed for a minute. Why are you so selfish?”

When it comes to personal property, boundaries between siblings can be hard to define. After all, in a family there is such a thing as communal property: what is mine is also yours. And sharing is a virtue all parents want to encourage in their children.

But no matter how close siblings are, respect of individuality (and hence, personal property) is important. Children must be allowed to set limitations that they are comfortable with — it’s part of their journey to selfhood.

So how are parents to handle situation of “stealing” between siblings? Consider the following tips:

Explain the Importance of Ownership
Many kids are simply unaware that siblings can feel proprietorial about their personal belonging. For instance, kids might wonder: “What’s the big deal about lending a CD anyway?” It’s important  for parents to explain that an object need not be valuable materially for it to be precious to a person. It may have a sentimental value to its owner, or the owner simply wants their possessions placed exactly where they left it. When kids understand how important property is to people, they can be more respectful of their sibling’s things.

Teach Skills in Being a Good Borrower
If a child really wants something from their sibling, the best thing they can do is ask for it! Teach your child good borrowing skills such as asking permission to borrow in a pleasant way, taking good care of borrowed property, not lending borrowed property without the owner’s permission and returning borrowed property promptly as promised. If a person has proven to be a good borrower, they’re easy to trust. Trustworthy borrowers get to borrow more often.

Clarify That a “No” is a “No.”
It is important for parents teach their children that taking property without permission is called stealing. Parents can convey the following information to their kids: “If you borrow something, and your sibling says “no,” you cannot just go and help yourself to it anyway. Perhaps the object just can’t be lent or given away and in any event, it’s the owner’s right to say no. The borrower simply has to accept the owner’s decision. If this is the case, then find other, more acceptable ways of getting what you want. Perhaps you can save money to buy what you need, or maybe you can borrow it from someone else. You may also just be creative and find ways to make do with what you don’t have. Stealing is a serious offense that violates people’s rights and it is simply not an option.”

Model Respect of Property
If you want to teach your children to respect their sibling’s property, you have to respect their property too. It’s not easy to think of young children as having property (since you bought them everything they have!) but many things are their personal belongings that might have personal value to them. So don’t just take (or worse, throw!) their things without permission, or re-arrange their belongings even if you are in the process of cleaning their rooms. Doing so may convey to kids that private property is not really important. Put questionable items in a pile and ask the kids about them, involving them in the sorting and discarding process.  When kids feel that respect of property is a family value, they are more likely to follow suit.

Use Discipline When Necessary
If a child repeatedly takes things without permission, use your normal process of discipline (i.e. the 2X-Rule, as explained in detail in Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice by Sarah Chana Radcliffe). When you decide to use this rule, you always start with Step One, even though you’ve already told your child many times that he must not take property without permission. Wait until the child takes something one more time and then apply Step One. It might sound like this, “You are not allowed to take someone’s property without their permission because everyone has the right to decide whether or not to share their private belongings. If you don’t have permission, do not touch what doesn’t belong to you.” Wait until a child takes something again, and then apply Step Two. Step Two involves saying the exact same thing you said at step one and adding a warning that future stealing will result in a punishment (name the exact punishment you have in mind, taking care to make it severe enough that it will motivate the child to refrain from stealing in the future). If the child ever steals again, apply the punishment.

Consider a Cry for Attention
Is stealing from siblings a recurring behavior that persists despite your interventions? Then perhaps it’s time to consider a cry for help. Your child can be stealing to get negative attention; he may be feeling insecure and has resorted to misbehaving to get help. Or he may be suffering from a condition called kleptomania – a compulsive desire to steal in order to relieve anxiety. The best help will come from a child psychologist or another mental health professional.

Child Doesn’t Answer Cellphone

Parents can find comfort in modern technology. Whereas “in the olden days,” letting children and teens go out into the night might have caused parents extreme worry and anxiety, today parents can keep in touch with their kids 24/7 through mobile phones. Of course, there’s still no guarantee that all is well, but the ability to check in does provide some peace of mind.

But what if your child doesn’t answer his or her cell phone? Should parents become immediately alarmed? Does not picking up mean that your child is in danger or hiding something?

Not always! There are many possible reasons why a child might not answer a parent’s call. The following are some of these reasons, alongside tips on how parents can handle the situation:

Your Child is Not Mindful of the Phone
Although this one is rare, it is still something to be considered: some kids are so attached to their cell phone, it’s practically welded to their palm. But there are also children who barely pay attention to their mobile, and merely have it on silent or vibrate mode somewhere in their bag. If your child is not expecting a call from you, it’s not unlikely that he or she just didn’t bother to check if anyone is calling.

If this is the case, the best thing for parents to do is to advise their child that they plan to ring, so that the child knows to always keep his or her phone handy.

It’s Not Convenient for Your Child to Answer the Phone
Sometimes, it’s just not the right place or time to answer the phone. Your child can be inside the cinema with friends, out in the field playing football, or crossing the street on a busy road. In the same way that you can’t be expected to answer your phone during these times, it’s unreasonable to expect your child to accommodate you.

What’s best is to ask your child where he or she is going so that you will know if ringing is advisable. If you know your child’s itinerary, then you would know when to ring. True, your child can always lie about the location in order to avoid your calls. But this is also a great exercise in trusting your child. Unless your child has a history of lying about his or her whereabouts, there’s really no reason not to take what your child says at face value.

You can also establish a rule on call backs. For example, you can contract with your child an agreement to call back within 30 minutes of a missed call. With such a rule in place, you won’t immediately panic when you don’t get a response. Of course, the 30 minute rule won’t necessarily solve the problem if your child is out watching a movie with friends, but it can still be helpful in most cases.

Your Child Already Knows That He or She is in Trouble
Sometimes kids don’t answer their cell phone because they sense that you are probably already angry at the other end of the line. If they’re out way after their curfew for example, it’s possible that they would avoid responding to your calls to avoid further stress.

If this is the case, explain to your child the effect of their behavior on you. Sometimes, kids don’t realize that parental anger is born out of being worried sick and fearing the worst. Tell them that whatever their offense may be, it would still be outweighed by relief in confirming that they are well and safe. Emphasize how answering your call at all times is a must.

In order to encourage your child to answer even when he or she is past curfew, be careful to avoid raging and unpleasant criticism. When your child answers be calm, polite and concerned. Take up discipline issues the next day, when everyone is awake and relaxed.

Your Child is Embarrassed to Answer the Phone
It’s also possible that your child is embarrassed to be seen talking to a parent. This is especially likely during the teenage years when kids are experimenting with their identity and their autonomy. Peers can tease them about always being “on a tight leash” or “being a mamma’s boy.” When this happens, your child may prefer to switch off his or her mobile rather than be caught talking to a parent.

Parents who are respectful of their kids’ feelings will have better communication and cooperation in the long run. Therefore, show understanding if your child claims to be embarrassed. Ask your child to suggest reasonable solutions. Keep in mind that teenagers are almost grown up and like grownups, they don’t want someone checking up on them every few hours. Perhaps you should be using the phone only for true emergencies and not to find out where your child is and what he is up to. Let your child go out and come home – don’t call! However, if your child is young or inexperienced, you can ask that he or she calls you when he or she arrives safely at a destination. For older teens, this isn’t necessary. In short, avoid acting like your child needs excessive supervision unless the child has already shown you through repetitive irresponsible behavior that this is truly the case. If your child has already established a track record of reasonable behavior, responsibility and appropriate maturity – let him or her go out and have a good time. There’s no need to call.

When Your Child Steals

Although parents are horrified to find that their teen has stolen, they should understand that this behavior does not always mark the beginning of a lifelong career in thievery. Rather, teen “thieves” are very often youngsters who are and will be very normal and responsible grown-up citizens.

Some teens steal from stores. “Shoplifting” is sometimes done on a dare. Immaturity and social pressure can result in this sort of stealing. Usually being caught puts a quick end to the short career of this kind of thief.

Shoplifting can also be committed by youths who are acting out stress or emotional problems. These kids subconsciously want to be caught in order to be able to bring their pain to the surface where it can be helped at last. Psychotherapy for shoplifting will often reveal a myriad of teen problems and angst. When all is addressed, the stealing stops.

Some kids steal from their parents. They help themselves to cash or cards, taken on the sly without permission. They spend it, naively hoping not to be discovered. This kind of thief is often a child who wants more than her parents are giving. Peer pressure, feelings of insecurity and deprivation may motivate this kind of stealing. Kids often don’t know how bank statements work and don’t realize that they will be discovered in short order. They may deny their role in unexplained purchases, thinking that their parents can be fooled. They may blame cash theft on household help. They may explain their new possessions as “gifts” from friends or prizes won. Sometimes family counseling can help such “thieves.” Sometimes parents really are too withholding, failing to understand the needs of their youngsters. Sometimes kids just need to get a job and more financial freedom coupled with less parental control. Family counseling can often straighten out what is crooked in such stealing.

Healing Teenage Theft
Counseling is always helpful in the case of youthful stealing. Compassionate parents who truly want to understand are the most help. They can help get to the underlying issues and address them. Stealing is, for most teenagers, a symptom of some other issue that needs attention. For instance, some kids who are going through family divorce become temporary thieves. They really need a chance to do therapy and work out their pain. Sometimes, kids with academic problems get involved with the wrong crowd and end up engaging in bad behavior of all kinds, including stealing. Sometimes troubled kids steal in order to pay for drugs they are using to numb their psychic pain.

However, whether the cause is social, interpersonal, intrapersonal, trauma or stress, the thief always needs help and healing. Harsh treatment tends to make the problem worse, as does drama and scare tactics. Yelling at a teenage thief does nothing positive towards the problem and may even worsen it.

Nonetheless, all stealing must also be met with negative consequences of some kind, whether that involves paying back the loss, community work, some sort of loss of privileges or whatever. The negative consequence teaches the youngster that there is a cost for anti-social behavior. The cost can be jail, of course, if the youngster has stolen outside of his home. However, there needs to be “introductory” consequences on the homefront, even if parents understand their troubled child and engage in family counseling or other healing strategies.

When teens see that their families really love them and want to help, they have the best chance of recovering from their stealing behaviors. If your teen is stealing, seek professional guidance in order to develop a plan of real healing and recovery.