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Creative discipline

Creative discipline

There’s no avoiding it – telling the truth can have negative consequences. It’s no wonder kids are tempted to “adjust” the truth. Here are some ideas that will help you express love to your kids by helping them to understand that dishonesty is very a serious issue.

For a hard-lined approach to lying

Biblical basis

Proverbs 6: 16-19 “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Suggested disciplinary action

When your child is “caught in a lie,” place a small drop of horseradish on your child’s tongue. Explain to your child that God detests lying and so do you! Inform them that the detestable taste of horseradish will help them remember how much God detests it when people are dishonest.

Affirmation

Pray with your child through Psalm 119:29-30: “Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through Your law. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on Your laws.” Further affirm them by saying that you know they will tell the truth in the future and be a delight to God, and to you.

For a “softer” approach to lying

Biblical basis

Proverbs 19:5 “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.”

Suggested disciplinary action

When your child is caught telling a lie, remove a specific “freedom” or privilege that your child enjoys, such as choosing the food they eat or the toys they can play with. Or restrict computer and/or television viewing privileges.

Use the extra time you have gained doing “character-building” activities, such as taking a walk and observing bugs caught in spider webs to illustrate how lies can “trap” you. (See the hands-on options section for more information on the “lie trap” exercise.)

Affirmation

Explain to your child that choosing to lie makes a person miserable because when we lie, we live in fear, waiting to find out when the lie will be uncovered. Direct your child to Psalm 119:30,32, which says, “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on Your laws… I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Explain that “living free” means always telling the truth, so we can live free from the fear of our lies being discovered.

Pray with your child and have them pray in agreement with you, letting God know that they are choosing the path of truth because they want to be free.