Communication Tip:

Originally written by Kerry for tutorial reference material, rewritten for Communication Weekly.

In Preparation for your Child’s First Lie

Let’s begin with you the reader. It’s possible that you have not been caught for your very first lie. In communication coaching jargon we use the word acknowledged rather than “caught,” caught carries a negative connotation. Your mother may have asked if you brushed your teeth and you said, “Yup.” Unbeknownst to you that unacknowledged lie is still affecting your outcomes to this very day. Not that that lie was terrible or bad, but that with its success you have compounded the karmic consequence of it with thousands of lies since then. You discovered that adults are not conscious and that they truly don’t deserve your full respect. Why? Because none have been sharp enough to catch you in your daily lies, omissions, withholds, petty/gross deceits and your BS. It’s almost certain that there is no one with whom you are completely open, honest, and spontaneous, zero withholds, (yes, the word “completely” here is possibly condescending).

If you make your child wrong and admonish and punish him/her for lying your child will have no choice but to emulate your behavior, that is he/she will grow up to lie at least as much as you do.

Let’s go back to your first lie to your mother. At the time she had so many unacknowledged withholds, lies, and perpetrations herself that she either didn’t hear the lie or she heard it and because she was not committed to being complete (and having you be complete) she let it slide, for reasons. It’s unethical to ask a child a question in which the possibility is they might lie. To do so is to set up the child to lie. Children are supposed to lie about teeth-brushing. That’s just what’s so, and, you know this.

Actually we need to go back to just before that first lie, to when you were virtually innocent. If you recall, you actually believed that your mother could tell when you were lying. And for a while, when you were very young, this may have been true. And then slight disrespects slowly crept in, none verbally acknowledged to her. In the beginning she may have been relatively conscious, so awake that she could simply experience that something was out or wrong. Early in her marriage, and your life, she may have had relatively few unacknowledged perpetrations. She may have begun her marriage communicating openly and honestly with your dad. Many married couples even make a promise to each other to never go to sleep on an upset; that becomes one of their first lies, which later begets many undesirable consequences. Just because one is unaware that they are lying “. . . til death do us part . . .” doesn’t alter the fact that they lied to each other. The significant difference between conscious lies and unconscious lies are the consequence—because you say so, not because I say so. Consequences are how you wake yourself up.

I mention all this to bring to your attention that had your mother been conscious, had her mind not been so cluttered with thoughts withheld, (judgments, criticisms, white lies, upsets with your father, all stuffed for reasons) she would have heard (gotten) your lie, as she had so many other times. “H’m, looks like somebody spilled the milk.” “I don’t know how it got spilled.” “I bet you do.” “Well, I might have hit it with my elbow.”

What we’re getting at here is that it’s important to keep in mind that children are supposed to lie. That’s what kids do. The experience of lying and what happens when they lie is all part of the learning process, getting to the place where they actually have a choice each time, to the point where it becomes second nature to tell the truth. They’ll get it if you get out of the way. It’s called discovery learning. Children lie and grass is green. Making grass wrong for being green is not very masterful.

The point being, you must intend for your child to lie when he or she is lying rather than resist it. Intend that they do it until they have no need to do it any more. Children lie in part because you have yet to learn how to be a safe space for the truth to be told. If you make your child wrong for lying then they have to do it all over again. You have to handle your child in such a way as to allow them the space to experience the experience of a lie; on their own, without you piling another experience, of shame/guilt or thought’s of worthlessness, on top of their created experience. They must then discover their own self-created consequence. As a matter of fact if you and I worked on it we could remember that right after your toothbrush lie you didn’t feel good. You were out-integrity. In truth the lie affected your sleep that night. It wasn’t quite as restful. You half expected your mom to come into your bedroom, wake you up, and give you one more chance to tell the truth. Me, I learned to wet the toothbrush.

If you get in the way of learning, with self-righteous admonishments and make-wrongs, then your child grows up either being a self-righteous truth-telling machine or someone who lies—often in the form of living a lie. The problem with turning out either way is that one doesn’t have a choice. Worse yet, a truth-telling addict will hold another in disdain or even contempt once they catch them in a lie. Seldom does a deceived person have the awareness to see that they were not a safe space for the truth to be told, and so they blame the other.

Over the past thirty-eight years as a communication-skills coach I have facilitated hundreds and hundreds of three-hour consultations. Only one person in all that time went the entire three hours without me hearing a single lie. The point being, everyone lies. The problem is that most have done it so often and have not gotten caught (acknowledged) that they can no longer hear their own lies, they are so unconscious they cannot hear many of the lies others tell, so clouded has the mind become.

To empty your mind of life’s accumulated unacknowledged lies, perpetrations and withholds, visit the The Clearing House and selectThe Clearing Process, one of four free communication processes in support if restoring ones integrity. Do one clearing per day for five days in a row. Afterwards, you’ll notice that you can see and hear mo betta. The Integrity Process—a check list—is a perfect way to begin the new year (it’s free).

More: About Lies and Lying—lying from choice

An excellent bedtime clearing process for parents with their child is: The Clearing Process for a Parent and a Young Person/Teen.

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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 8/8/13)


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