How to Stop a Child from Lying: 6 Questions to Ask

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at

Throughout June 2011, we’ll be working on the concept of “integrity” as part of our Powerful Words character development curriculum.

All our discussions and activities will aim to help our students understand what it means to be true to oneself, one’s values and principles, one’s word, and one’s standards and beliefs.

In this video, Dr. Robyn Silverman, creator of Powerful Words, gives advice to a parent who just caught their 6-year-old son telling his first lie:

We want our children to do what is right and honest, not what is easiest and fastest. But we can’t always be there at their side, so how can we help our children make the right choices even when we’re not around?

Dr. Robyn recommends teaching your children to ask themselves the following 6 powerful questions.

1. What is the voice inside my gut telling me to do?
Our bodies often tell us what our mind is trying to disguise. Next time your child chooses right over wrong, ask them what made them go with that decision?

2. Could I look my parents/teacher/friend in the eye after I do this?
If they can’t look someone in the eye, they’re on the verge of making a poor choice.

3. Could I look at myself in the mirror after I do this?
If they can’t look at their own reflection in the mirror and feel proud, they should take it as a warning that they might be doing something they’ll come to regret.

4. Would I do this whether someone was watching me or not?
The definition of integrity is choosing to do the right thing, whether eyes are on us or not.

5. Does the end justify the means?
Getting an A on a test is good, but not if it happens because of cheating. Kids need to understand they should choose what’s right over what’s best.

6. Am I being who I am, or am I being who others want me to be?
Not being ourself does a disservice not only to us, but to others. When we don’t allow others to get to know the real individual we are, we’re building friendships based on a lie. Ask your child, do you want people to like you for who you are? Or for who you’re pretending to be?