A compulsive liar is a person who continually tells lies. When confronted, the liar justifies their behaviour by sticking to their story or giving far-fetched explanations for their lies. This pattern of lies often begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. This article discusses identifying if your child is a compulsive liar and ways to deal with it.
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What makes your child a compulsive liar?
There are several reasons why children may begin telling lies compulsively:
- If your child has been the victim of bullying, they may continue to lie to try and fit in with others or avoid getting bullied again.
- If you feel that your child is struggling with another problem, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or brain disorder, this can increase their chances of lying regularly. You may want to meet with the child’s doctor to rule out any possibility.
- In some other cases, the lies may be a way for your child to get attention from others. If they believe that no one truly cares about them or pays attention to their needs, they may exaggerate stories to get noticed by someone else.
- You can work with your child’s teachers and school counsellors to identify any underlying issues that may cause your child to lie constantly.
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How to deal if your child is a compulsive liar?
If your child has a habit of compulsive lying, they may think that there is nothing seriously wrong with it and there are no consequences for their actions. You need to explain why lying is wrong. The following tips may help reduce this type of behaviour:
- Practice positive reinforcement techniques. For example, you may reward your child with a sticker when he didn’t lie even a single time for an entire day. It is likely to encourage your child to continue telling the truth.
- If lying continues, stop all privileges not necessary for daily life or safety until they have earned them back by being truthful.
- Make your child write down what they did and how it made you feel when they lied.
- You must communicate with your child regularly to catch any signs of lying.
- If your child continues to lie, you may need to meet with your child’s teacher and school administrators. Your child needs to understand that their actions have consequences and can upset others around them.
- You may also wish to consider professional counselling to deal with the lying.
Is your child lying harmful to others?
Your child may be under the impression that their lying does not cause any harm to others. You need to make them realise that their lies can harm others.
If your child’s behaviour is causing others to be hurt, you may need to take action. This type of lying is known as destructive/antisocial lying, and it may be more likely if your child has a history of aggression or other behaviours that can harm those around them.
If you believe that your child has hurt another person due to their lies, and you show them examples of this, it will make them realise the consequences of their behaviour. Parents and teachers need to show children the harm that can result from lying regularly. You will also want to teach your child that it is unacceptable to hurt another individual due to their lies and reinforce this idea when they get caught in a lie.
What is the behaviour of a compulsive liar?
The following are some common signs of a possible compulsive liar:
- Your child has an extensive history of telling lies with no apparent motivation to do so.
- Your child lies about actions anyone can easily verify, such as a broken item or lost homework.
- Your child seems to enjoy lying and does not feel guilty about it. They may seem proud of their ability to lie, which is a sign that they continue with this behaviour because it makes them happy.
- A compulsive liar is someone who will lie about the same issue again even after getting caught lying about it.
- Your child enjoys telling stories that are not plausible, such as ones in which they are unique or have superpowers. These stories tend to change frequently and get more elaborate with each telling.
How to help your child if they are a compulsive liar?
If you notice that your child is lying, it is essential to address the behaviour immediately. There are a few steps you can take to help them break this habit:
- Your child may be lying; as for him, it seems to be the only way to get out of trouble or avoid negative consequences. It may be easier for your child to lie than accept responsibility for their actions. You need to assure them that you will be upset if they lie and not when they do something wrong and get it.
- Set clear rules and examples within your home that show that no one is allowed to lie under any circumstances. The best way to encourage your child to be truthful is by rewarding them when they tell the truth.
- You can help your child by identifying why they continue to lie and what makes them want to lie in the first place and then telling them the correct way to approach that situation.
If you find that your child is frequently lying and cannot seem to stop, you must take remedial steps immediately. You need to tell them that no one will ever trust them with this kind of behaviour. This type of compulsive lying can interfere with their relationships. Try to address this issue yourself first, then with the teachers, and in some cases, your child may require psychological counselling or treatment from a therapist to get through this stage of their lives.