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I’ve been catching my elementary school–age daughter lying. How do I handle this?

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: When my younger daughter was around six, she started lying.

It took me awhile to realize this because as a patient advocate, I’m also a people advocate, so I totally believed my kid. That is, I believed my kid until I found out she was lying.
But when I realized that my daughter was lying, I didn’t turn on her. I started confronting the truth. For example, once I had been away on vacation, and when I came back I had left a roll of film out to be developed. All of the film had been pulled out of the canister! It was clear my younger daughter had done it. Her older sister wouldn’t have done it, and it clearly wasn’t the dog!

When I asked my daughter who had done it, she said she didn’t know. I asked, “Who do you think could have done it?” We slowly but surely narrowed it down to her, and she finally admitted it. I asked my daughter what her motivation was, and she said she had none, she was just being bratty.

I then turned it around and asked her how she would have felt if it was her film, what would she want to do? We talked it through, and it took around four episodes of confronting the truth in this way, calmly and without making a big deal out of it, but then the lying stopped.

Kids learn by example, and they will only react as much as you react. If you react inappropriately, they will become inappropriate reactors too.

Today, my younger daughter is 24 and a healthy, successful businesswoman. As a parent, you have to be a benign ruler. If you listen to what your kids say and pay attention to who they are, treat them with kindness and support, validate them, and don’t overreact, they’ll come out fine

Erika Schwartz, MD, a mom of two, Bioidentical Hormone Doctor,  and director of DrErika.com, who’s been in private practice for over 30 years in NYC, specializing over the past 15 years in women’s health, disease prevention, and bio identical hormones

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.