How to Teach a 7-Year-Old Not to Lie


Teaching 7-year-olds to not lie is crucial. In my experience, some kids lie a lot and others do not. Let’s figure out how to stop this bad habit.

So, how do you teach a 7-year-old not to lie? At this age, the child is just beginning to start understanding consequences. Teach them what will happen when they lie, but don’t give them major consequences. Show them in your actions that you value honesty.

Honesty is the best policy. A classic phrase. Let’s teach our children to be honest.

How to Handle Lying

Let’s say you come home and there is writing all over the wall. Purple crayon is a creative chaos on the floor. Whatever earth tone that the room was is now plastered with colors in major contrast. Sound familiar?

Or how about your favorite vase? You found it broken on the ground with the water and flowers fanned out around the destruction.

The worst part of this entire thing is your child does not fess up to doing any of this. You have to pry truth out of them.

The good thing is your kid is self-aware. They know that they are in trouble and they know what they did, but why won’t they tell you? They are obviously embarrassed. How do you teach them to be honest and accept consequences?

I think it is important to teach your child why being honest is important and also teach them that you will help them fix it. I remember being a kid. I was terrified when I did something wrong.

You don’t want your child to fear you. You want them to respect you.

When a child is about 6 years old, their brains begin to understand consequences and the sequences that happen to lead to consequences. They start to make connections between the things they do and the results.

If homework is not done, they will get in trouble and a bad grade follows. If they use their mom’s expensive lipstick, then mom will be upset.

According to Judy Arnall, a Calgary parent educator, “By eight, they get a cause and effect. So a lot of lying is to avoid getting into trouble.”

Well, 7-year-olds are stuck right in the middle of that! This is the prime time to teach them about honesty and responsibility for actions. Let’s talk about what to do.

What to Do/What Not to Do

Whatever you do, do not punish them very much around this age. You know your child, so you know how much accountability to put on them.

I say don’t punish them because at this vulnerable age of understanding if they are punished, they will learn to leave you out of it in the future and then they will never learn.

If you don’t scare them, they will come to you with problems and other things in the future. Trust is crucial at this period.

A child around this age is still figuring out consequences and why they happen. What you should do is work through it with them. Help them to fix the problem. Do not do it for them. We will delve into this a little later.

Another thing that is crucial is that your child needs you to teach them why it is wrong. Tell your kid that you do not like lies. Don’t sugar coat that. It may take a bit but overall your kid will begin to understand and tell you the truth of what happened. It is all about trust.

Arnall said, “It may take a few times, but when your child comes to you with the truth and you don’t freak out, she will learn to come more often.”

One reason why children sometimes never learn is because the parents aren’t good examples. Arnall uses the example of parents lying about a child’s age as an example of parents who don’t value what they are being taught. Children follow what the parents do. Monkey see, monkey do.

“It may take a few times, but when your child comes to you with the truth and you don’t freak out, she will learn to come more often.”

Judy Arnall

If your child does lie, find out why. After that, find a solution. Do not just let the lie pass over. This will show your kid that you do not value being honest and that if you can hide from consequences then you should. Not a good idea.

Problem-solving will help your child to own up to problems in the future because they will have some understanding of how to solve the situation.

Probably the most important part is when your child does tell you the truth, show appreciation. As a child of parents, I can guarantee you that nothing feels better in the world then knowing your parents appreciate and are proud of you.

Share a moment of congratulations! Let your child know how much you lover him/her. This is a moment to be happy. Nothing reinforces good behavior more than positive response. This is how you can help your child be more honest.

A Good Example of Teaching Honesty

I have an example of a good mother, my own. We were at a church event. I was throwing a ball around with some friends and I threw it over the fence. It belonged to a friend of mine. I didn’t get the ball for whatever reason. I can’t remember exactly all of the details.

I do remember though when we were about to leave the friend and his dad came over asking where the ball was. I said it was on the other side of the fence.

My mom then proceeded to tell me that I needed to get it and afterwards, she talked to me about being trustworthy. I will never forget that experience.

I am now a better person because of this experience and my wonderful mom who taught me to be honest and trustworthy in the future. Parents can take a note from my mom who I shamelessly praise.

Books/Stories That Teach Kids to Be Honest

Arguably the most classic story about honesty is “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” I think everybody I know, knows this story. You do not even need the book. You can just share this story. This one is versatile and can be shared in a moments notice.

Probably the most memorable children’s book about honesty for me is “The Berenstain Bears and the Truth.” I loved this book and its creativity. I related to the story. It was colorful and vibrant. you can find it on Amazon for about $4

Here is a list of other books you could look up:

  • David Gets in Trouble
  • The Empty Pot
  • Ruthie and the (Not SO) Teeny Tiny Lie
  • The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot
  • The Honest-to-Goodness Truth

There are other books but these few should be enough. Book are a great way to teach children. Stories have such power and in times when your child is presented with a chance to lie, the stories can remind your child to be honest.

Related Questions

At what age does a child understand lying? Children understand lies from an early age. It’s normally around the age of 3. Around the age of 6 they begin to understand consequences. At 8 they understand cause and effect. You pick up one end of the stick and the other comes with it.

How can I get my child to stop lying? Well, be a good example. Do not lie. Also, teach your child why it is important to be honest. Don’t let them just get away with it. Reinforce good behavior. If they know they are doing something good and you praise them and appreciate them for being honest, they will more likely be honest in the future.

How do you teach honesty? By example and reinforcing good behavior. Figure out why they are lying and talk to them about it. Teach them the value of honesty and why they need people to trust them. Teach them the consequences of not being honest.

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