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When your child lies to you – what do you do?

Kids and LyingThe moment that is most shocking to most parents is the first time that their child – who has been so good up to this moment – tells them an untruth.  When it happens a second, third or more times, we begin to question ourselves and wonder how this could happen.  “We ask, Is my child trustworthy, Will I ever be able to trust them again?”

I begin with the belief that every child is trustworthy, that they have that virtue in them.  They are worthy of our trust in them to do and be honest with us, to keep their promises.  So what happens that this wonderful child out of the clear blue sky, decide to tell us a lie?

First remember they are still a wonderful child.  Second they will tell you that they lied because of one of two things.

  • they didn’t think it was that big a deal or,
  • they didn’t want to get in trouble.

Either way what they are saying to us is that what the family values (the behavior they are lying about and the value of honesty / trustworthiness) is not as important to them at this moment as their personal value of the behavior or of not getting into trouble.  It is very easy for them to rationalize a behavior and justify their actions if they think that it is OK for them / not hurting others.

While we as a parent feel pain, anger and personally hurt, we want to be very careful about going down the road of “blame and shame”, of looking at our child as a bad person or worse “a liar”.  Remember our children have a fear of not wanting to get in trouble and a fear of disappointing their parents.  With fear comes one of two reactions – fighting or fleeing.  Both of those choices begin to look like lying may fill the need for them.

With the need to redirect our child we want to look at this as a teachable moment, vs. just a personal affront.  In fact if we remember that the child may very well just not want to disappoint us, just that thought will make our discipline come from a place of love vs. fear.  Try these steps;

  • Use a time out constructively
  • Ask them to consider the virtue they need to practice
  • Give consequences when it is called for
  • Provide the opportunity to make amends
  • Notice and name the virtue when you see them being practiced

Our goal is to build their character by building a healthy conscious.  As we show our children in teachable moments how lying affects others, how the behavior they chose may hurt themselves and others, we are using our skills and example to empower them rather than demoralize.  Above all else, look for and recognize your child  when they are practicing the values of your family.


The results of losing trustworthiness

When discussing the character trait of trustworthiness, all of our students agreed that being able to be counted on was important to our relationships, whether they were friends, teachers or parents.   We discussed multiple ways that a person could build that trust.  Telling the truth, being reliable and dependable, admitting when a mistake was made.

What was powerful about our discussion was one word that was used by a student when asked about what it feels like when you lose that ability to trust another person.  They said it was particularly true when the once trusted person was close to us, and they broke the trust.  The word they used was LONELY.

I thought about that for a minute and have to agree that the feeling of loneliness does overcome us when trust is broken.  We may feel like we are on an island, by ourselves, without support or the backing of those we once depended on for support.  We are going to feel distraught and distressed.  It is a moment that makes us stop and ponder all of our relationships.

Another student said it takes a long time to build the reputation of being trustworthy and a single quick moment to lose it.  Reminding the group that our most important team is our family, I also reminded them that building and keeping the trust of others in our family is one our most important task as a team member.  Being trustworthy helps others to know that they can count on us to make good choices and to tell the truth.


Life Skills: Trustworthiness – The Definition

Word of monthEach month we will discuss a life skill with all of our students. This month the word is Trustworthiness.  This word will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: Trustworthiness means: You can count on me!

Older students: Trustworthiness means:  To be deserving of someone’s complete faith, belief and confidence.

Each age group has a worksheet that parents can use to continue the discussion at home with their children, and one for adults to allow them to think more deeply about the skill and how it applies to them. Would you like to receive the worksheet? Stop by our studio at 133 Gibralter Avenue in Annapolis, MD and tell us the age of your child. We will give you a worksheet and invite you to watch Mr. Joe discuss the word with the students in class.  You can also follow our discussions here on this website.

If you would like to become a member of Balanced Life Skills, come TRY CLASSES FOR FREE.   We are not your typical after school activity, in fact we are an education center, working with our students on physical skills along with empowering families with compassion, awareness and respect – creating a culture of peace – through the arts.  We believe in every child and will build their confidence.  Balanced Life Skills serves the community and encourages each student to do the same.


3 Characteristics That Defines Teamwork

If you were the leader of a team, what would you like to see from each member of your team? When all of your answers come in, teamwork comes from all team members displaying these 3 characteristics:


In our class last night one more thought came forward and that was TRUST. Trust is important for teamwork to be its best. You gain the trust of others when you demonstrate great effort, great attitude and are fair to all concerned.

Our most important team is our family. Whether we are young or old, the parent or the child, we can ask ourselves if we are being the kind of teammate we would like to lead every day. Both children and adults can ask: “Are we giving all of our responsibilities great effort, with our best, most positive attitude and are we fair to all concerned.”

If we are, then we are demonstrating great Teamwork.



Family is our most important team

Jess & dad at ballgameWhile we will be on many teams in our life, ranging from sports to business – the most important team we will ever be on is the one that we are closest too – FAMILY. How do we demonstrate our teamwork with family members? What are the characteristics that we have within us that we can grow and show, that demonstrates teamwork.

A team is not just about one person, it is about working together in UNITY to reach a common goal. The team leaders (parents) need to agree on what they want the team to be known for and accomplish. Then the team (all family members) can work in UNITY with JOYFULNESS to accomplish those goals. Imagine if every family understood the PURPOSE of the team and then went about JOYFULLY working with others on the team, knowing that all of them were TRUSTWORTHY to do their part in reaching that goal.

All families can work like a great team, if they have a Mission, Vision, Core Values that everyone on the team (family) is working to fulfill. If our family is not working in UNITY at this time, could it be that not everyone is on the same page? They may not know what the vision is or what their role is in making that vision come true. Each of us can make our team stronger by doing our part or what is best for the team (family) with KINDNESS and LOVE. In fact just being GRATEFUL for our teammates is a good start to helping everyone on the team to reach the goal of the team.

Lets begin our journey of Family Teamwork by remembering that UNITY is a powerful virtue that brings people together, valuing them and practicing peace in all circumstances.

Did you notice the virtues / gifts of character that were in bold letters?

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