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My Child Lies

My Child Lies

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Joey and Carla Link

June 2017

 

Is there anything worse than your child lying to you? It’s hard to stay calm. I was talking to a parent recently who found out her child lied to them when Mom was talking to a friend and heard what her child said to her about an issue they were dealing with. This mom felt a deep burn in her heart when she got the story from her friend.

 

What do you do when your child lies to you? We have a very helpful Mom’s Notes presentation called “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” that is full of practical information on this troubling character trait. You can download both the notes (PDF) and MP3 at parentingmadepractical.com. I would also like to offer insight on this topic here as well. Let us first lay a foundation.

 

Does your child brush his teeth every day? Turn the light off in the bathroom? Make his bed the way he is supposed to? Get the dog fed? How about getting the trash out? Get off the computer when it’s time? Do you remind your kids to do any of these “normal” daily responsibilities? If so why do you remind them?

 

It could be because you are working on training him to do these responsibilities. When is your training over so you can give him the monkey (ownership) of each responsibility? It is over when you are confident he knows what to do, why he should do it, how to do it and does it by himself with no reminders from you 75% of the time.

 

Once you give a monkey to him, what do you do when you can see he isn’t carrying his monkeys, or he hasn’t completed the tasks he was previously characterized by doing?

 

  1. Ask yourself, is this a one-time happening or is it happening with several different responsibilities many times a day. If it is a one-time thing don’t do anything.

 

  1. If it is happening again and again, let him fail. We know this hurts you as much as them, but it is a necessary part of growing up. This is the deal with letting him fail, failure = consequences. Be ready with an appropriate consequence that makes the failure painful. If he doesn’t get his schoolwork turned in, let him feel the consequences his teacher will give him. If he is homeschooled, take away all his freedoms until he is caught up.

 

  1. When your kids give you the impression they have completed their chores and schoolwork but they haven’t, do you treat this as lying? It is a form of lying called deceiving. To deceive is “to cause someone to believe something that is not true.” Isn’t that what a lie is? To trick you to believe something other than the truth? Once your kids are 8 yrs. and above and have received the monkey for a particular responsibility or behavior, when they become deceptive in dealing with it with you, it needs to be treated as lying and you need to pull that monkey back into the funnel, meaning it is your responsibility to oversee it with your authority again.

 

  1. If you continue reminding them vs. training them to remember and be responsible for these, then you really are giving your child a double message allowing them to lie to you while at the same time telling them outright lying is wrong and not allowed.

 

What can you do? When you find they don’t get their teeth brushed or feed the dog or do whatever else is on their list of tasks for the day, instead of reminding them, threatening or lecturing them (like we talk about in our book “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think”):

 

  • Ask them why they lied to you. With the shocked look on their face, ask them to go look up the word “deceive” in a dictionary or on the internet. Ask them how deceiving can be seen as a form of lying.

 

  • If they say “I just forgot to do it. I wasn’t deceiving you”, ask them why you should believe them. It’s easy for kids to get in the habit of “forgetting” because it erases responsibility for them. So saying they forgot to do something is again trying to deceive or trick you. Ask them why you would want to be their memory.

 

When you give your kids an instruction, when you are finished do they say “Yes Mom/Dad?” If the task does not get completed, you want to go back to “Why did you lie to me by saying you would do it?” Your child might want to know when he told you he would do it. You can tell him when he responds to you with “Yes Mom/Dad” at the end of their instruction he is agreeing to follow through with it. When he doesn’t intend to do it, saying “Yes Mom/Dad” is another form of lying and when your kids are 8 yrs. and up, they need a correction for it.

 

Kids with the Sanguine temperament are prone to lying by deceiving, distracting and the other forms you can find out more about in the Mom’s Notes presentation, “Working with Your Child’s Besetting Sin, Pt. 2 Dealing with the Child Who Lies.”

 

Teaching our kids to be responsible is one thing, and it needs to come first. Teaching them to be honest with you as well as themselves by not lying in any way when they know they should be responsible is another matter completely.

What Is Controlling Your Child?

What is Controlling Your Child?

Joey and Carla Link

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May 24, 2017

 

“You are being unreasonable!” Lexi shouted at her mother. “She thinks I’m being unreasonable?” Lexi’s mother thought and she wondered once again how to help her daughter get her emotions under control. Dealing with your child’s emotions can be frustrating at best. At times it seems none of your prodding or encouragement makes a difference in their attitude or treatment towards you or others. When I was growing up my mother would call this “they just got up on the wrong side of the bed.” Well then, how can your child make herself get up on the right side of the bed?

 

Think with us for a moment. What happens when your children feel they are being mistreated by a teacher? Or they feel a sibling or friend at school doesn’t like them? There is nothing wrong with feelings unless they control others in a negative way by manipulating them to do what they want.

 

Some 60 years ago Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ taught about this using a train. The engine was named “Facts”, the coal car is called “Faith” and the caboose is “Feelings”. He said when Christians let their feelings drive their faith, putting them in the engine’s seat, they distorted the facts which led their faith on a roller-coaster ride that left your child gasping for breath and wondering why God didn’t help them.

 

We all know someone who is led by their feelings. They can be unstable, putting their faith in wrong things leading them to make bad choices. These unstable feelings exaggerate truth which can be heard in statements like “You never” or “You always.” Lexi told her mother she never let her do what she wanted to do. Her mom realized Lexi believed this to be true. Her mom was once again left bewildered as just a couple days ago she had taken Lexi on a shopping trip and bought her a new outfit she wanted.

 

Can good feelings get out of control? Yes, when good feelings become “over the top” and become driven by “you only live once!” Putting their trust in their emotions, good or bad can lead kids to make unwise choices and decisions. Have you ever noticed our culture’s emphasis on “it feels good” is usually based on partying or living in an immoral way? From a young child squawking in the supermarket because you won’t get them the candy in the check-out lane, to a tween wanting to fit in with the crowd, to a teen going too far physically in a dating relationship, “it feels good” can lead to disaster.

 

How can you train your child to keep his feelings under control? While you can modify some of these for young children, they are most effective when children are 6 years and above.

 

  1. Always work with him on getting self-control. When you see his feelings getting out of control (don’t wait until they are out of control) have a non-verbal signal you can give him that means he needs to step away and get self-control.

 

  1. After your child shares something negative, have him share 3 positive things about the same situation/person.

 

  1. Always ask for the facts. Ask how he/she feels about the facts. Ask them how their feelings change the facts. This will help them learn their feelings are okay, but they don’t change the facts, which are truth. Feeling oriented kids don’t like to think in facts.

 

  1. Get three blocks of wood and write “Faith” on one, “Fact” on another and “Feelings” on the 3rd. Have your child keep these where he/she can readily see them. When their feelings are getting out of control, switch the blocks so “feelings” are first, “Faith” is second and “Fact” is 3rd. Tell your child to sit and think about how their feelings are leading them to make wrong choices and to sit until he/she can put them in proper order again and tell you what they are going to do about their feelings when they apologize to you.

 

  1. Ask your child who is in authority over him/her. Their response should include you, God and perhaps a teacher and coach. Ask your child if he believes he needs to follow what these people say, can he trust them to be right? When he decides he can, remind him God put people with authority in their life starting with their parents so when their feelings get mixed up, they know who they can trust and follow.

 

Bottom line, parents need to do as Solomon said in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” If you as a parent see your kids being led by their emotions, work on guiding them back to working off of facts, showing them one does not exclude the other.

Who’s Taking Care of Your Kids?

Who’s Taking Care of Your Kids?

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Joey and Carla Link

May 2017

 

A frustrated lady was telling me recently about the small group she was in at their church and how out of control the kids were, so much so they couldn’t keep a child care worker for the 8 kids in spite of getting paid $30 for 2 hours work.

 

I found it interesting that Christians love to study the Bible and non-fiction books on Christian living, yet at the same time they don’t work on the most fundamental directive God gave parents in Ephesians 3:20: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

 

I think it pleases the Lord when parents take the time to train their children to obey them even more so than going to a small group study. Why? Obedient children are a testimony that opens a window of light to our world which lives in darkness. Think of a childcare worker telling all her family and friends about the kids she sits for at this church that are obedient and respectful to her.

 

3 Things a Parent can do about Disobedient Kids in Public Settings

 

  1. Teach your kids to be obedient at home. If you don’t know how, our Mom’s Notes Presentation “Understanding First Time Obedience” and our book “Why Can’t I Get My Kid’s to Behave? share information on this. Both of these resources share practical

things you can start on right away.

 

As a parent, when your child does not obey you or someone you put in responsibility like a babysitter, teacher, childcare worker or grandparents, what do you do about it? We encourage you to stop and take a look at how often they obey you at home, with a good attitude. If you need to get to work on it, get the resources you need and get started.

 

  1. Talk to your child at home or in the car before going to the event.
  • Ask them what they are supposed to do when a teacher, coach or other adult gives them an instruction. Ask them to tell you why it is important to be obedient and respectful to adults.
  • Ask them what they can do if other kids are not obeying the teacher.
  • Clarify any doubt in their understanding of your expectations.
  • Ask them what will be the consequences if they don’t obey the adult leaders.
  • For your child to submit to teachers, childcare workers and other adults, parents must consistently provide the consequences when their child disobeys so he/she will not gamble by guessing if they will get in trouble or not. When a child believes there will be some kind of pain (when they get home) if they disobey the adult leaders will help them to say “no” to the disobedience they could get into.
  • It embarrasses children of any age when they have to go back to the leaders of the event and apologize for being disobedient and disrespectful to them. When our kids complained about this we told them their sin was embarrassing them, not us.
  1. Take action.
  • When kids are allowed to play with no structure in place, they will get wild. Always. Plan the time out when the children are there. Ask 2-3 teens to take turns planning the program (Bible story, craft, games, music) as a service project. If you have 2 teams of 2-3 teens each, they would only have to be there twice a month, the teams alternating weeks. Work with them until they get the hang of planning a program.
  • Many small groups across the country are using our book “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?” as their group study. You can download questions for each chapter off our website at no cost, parentingmadepractical.com.
  • The biggest issue childcare workers, teachers, coaches or other adult leaders have with parents is they don’t listen to them when they are trying to explain the negative behavior of their child. These leaders/teachers have no reason to lie to you. Listen carefully, thank them for telling you and work on it at home.

 

This should be the goal of every parent for when they pass the responsibility of their child on to someone else to care for and teach them.

 

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls,

as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning,

for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Hebrew 13:17 (ESV)

Shame

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Joey & Carla Link

March 2017

 

Parents can actually stop their kids from learning without knowing it. How? By stopping them from feeling the consequences of the choices they make.

 

When I was growing up, I remember a friend of mine told a whopper of a lie to get out of trouble. It took a few days for his parents to track down all the details, but when they did, he told me how embarrassed he was that he had to go back to the man in our church and confess what he really did and tell him why he lied about it. It took my friend Mike a week of what seemed like solitary confinement before he agreed to talk to the man, but when he did, I remember Mike telling me how afraid he was. It turned out the man was kind but firm about Mike’s lying. Mike said after that he would never lie again. I learned that telling the truth was a lot better than the shame Mike had to go through that week.

 

Do you allow shame to teach your kids’ life lessons that can shape their character? We know parents don’t want their child to get hurt emotionally or they don’t want them to have to go through that kind of pain. When we look back at our lives however, we can see the pain we went through and how it taught us life lessons and shaped our character to be the person we are today. In the same way, for our kids to mature and grow in Godly character we need to allow them to learn from the choices they make as our Heavenly Father teaches them to follow Him.

 

A friend was sharing with me about a coworker, a brother in the Lord who was using his computer at work to look at things that he knew he shouldn’t be looking at anywhere, much less at his place of work. He was immediately fired from a job that would lead him into his lifelong dream career. He was depressed over the death of his plans but had no regrets about what he was looking at. It was just pictures after all. I wondered if his parents made him deal with the shame of his actions growing up because what he was looking at on his computer was shameful. Unfortunately, he only felt sorry for himself because of his job situation, not because of what he was looking at.

 

Do you take your kids to school when they are late getting ready in the morning and miss the bus? Why not let them be late? The shame of getting a tardy and eventually a detention should embarrass them enough to get up on time. Do you lie to cover up your kid’s ugly behavior?

What kinds of things do you let your kids off the hook for now that they need to learn from so they won’t have to learn that lesson tomorrow from someone else?

shame: a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have

because you know you have done something wrong; disgrace

(Merriam-Webster)

Refereeing Your Kids

Refereeing Your Kids

Joey and Carla Link

April 12, 2017

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Do you ever feel like you are a referee with you kids? While it seems to be natural for boys especially to wrestle around, it’s another thing when they are arguing and bickering with each other. It seems to never end. When you are pulled into the middle of their fight, they expect you to pick a winner and a loser, a no win situation for you. Maybe we should wear referee uniforms and blow a whistle when we see the poor choices our kids are making!

 

I can imagine Jesus felt this way at times. During his last meal with his disciples at the “last supper” Jesus’s students (the disciples) started arguing which of them was going to be the greatest in heaven. Just like a parent, Jesus had to step in and straighten them out.

 

Jesus gave us a powerful teaching that every parent should teach their kids. You can read the story in John 13, where Jesus said to his disciples, “One of you is going to betray me.” The disciples wanted to know who would do such a thing. Jesus looks at Judas and said, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Judas leaves and Jesus goes on to give his disciples a command to live by; “Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

 

It’s one thing for kids to argue and bicker, but do they also show love to each other? Too many times parents only require their kids to accept one another, which is good, but not best. Best is showing love to each other even when you are mad at them. My (Joey) definition of love is “an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.” How committed are your kids to each other? Are they more committed to other friends or teammates than they are to each other?

 

I (Joey) remember the day we were in the van and our teenage daughter Briana asked her sister Amy who could reach Briana’s backpack easily to get a book out of it for her. Amy did and the corner of the book was bent. Briana was so upset because her book was bent and began telling her sister what she thought of her for not being more careful. We had to step in and I eventually asked her if her best friend had bent the book would she be upset with her. Briana immediately answered “Of course not.” We waited a few minutes for her to see the irony in her response but she didn’t so we asked her why she wouldn’t respond in the same way. After listening to her friend’s virtues, we broke in and asked her what she was telling her sister. Briana wouldn’t respond because she realized she was telling her sister she wasn’t important to her and she loved her friends more than she loved her. We told her she was going to lose the freedom of hanging out with her friends until she could treat her sister better than she treated her friends. We told her she had to prove to us over time that her siblings were loved and valuable to her. By “over time” we don’t mean a few days or a week or two. We mean at least a month. We wanted loving her siblings to become a habit for Briana.

 

Teaching kids to love properly is a lengthy process because they like us are selfish and self-focused. We are all trying to take care of ourselves and it’s always easier to treat a sibling worse than a friend because your sibling will always be in your life but you could lose friends if they don’t like how you treat them.

 

The best way to stop refereeing you kids is to teach them to love one another just as much as they love themselves and to treat each other the way they wanted to be treated.

 

When you kids are squabbling with each other ask them, “How are you showing love to each other?” if they are self-focused they will likely start pointing out how the other is not showing love to them. When our kids did this, we saw it as a great opportunity to have them sit alone in an isolated place until they came up with a way to show love to each other just like Jesus showed love to his disciples.

 

Look for an opportunity to read to your kids John 13:21-35, reminding them of the story of Jesus demonstrating love to Judas (by giving him Jesus’ piece of bread) and giving us the same command that we must love each other the same way by loving those who hurt and betray us. This can help them deal with friends both Christians and non-Christians who hurt or betray them.

 

If your older kids are unwilling to work on forgiving and loving their siblings you might ask them if they truly are a Christian. Jesus ended John 13:35 saying, “This is how the world will know that you are Christ followers (Christians) by how you love each other.”