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Preschoolers: Lying and Disobedience

by Joe Lawrence | August 4th, 2015 | Behavior, Preschool

preschooler (400x400)Preschoolers are such a fun demographic to deal with. Just when you get past so many big obstacles, you get to deal with some budding behavior issues. Two of the most annoying are lying and plain old disobedience.

I look back at my daughter and the sleepless nights, all of her teething pains, potty training, waking up 20 times a night because she could finally get out of bed on her own, learning to walk, temper tantrums and every other fun treat we get to experience as parents. Just when we finally think we have it all figured out, in comes the developing personality.

Personality is driven by behavior and they like to test the waters to see what they can do to function in the home. Lying and disobedience are two of the favorite weapons of a preschooler.

Telling lies is one problem that we face. Sometimes it is some fictitious story about something that happened during their day. We have to tiptoe the line as parents as to what is a healthy imagination and what is a lie. For example, the dog probably did not talk to the neighbor and ask for her to swim in his pool. Sometimes the lying is something they do to see if the can pull the wool over your eyes. The “I did not eat the cookies” with chocolate all over the face scenario.

We need to ensure we are encouraging an imagination, but we have to be able to trust them. In our house we can’t lie if we say “promise.” I promise I…” has to be followed with the truth or else she gets into a lot of trouble. We go out of our way to have her tell us good and bad news. If she does something wrong, we let her know it was bad and what the punishment is; however, we do not give her the riot act. Although, I always let her know what the punishment would have been if she did not tell me the truth and tell her how proud I am of her honesty.

Then there is good ole defiance lurking around the preschooler corner. “Time to come inside for dinner,” gets met with a confident, “no.” This boils my blood as a father. However, most of the time she is looking to see what my reaction is going to be and what she can get away with. Instead of blowing my top, I put her in time-out or take away her iPad time for the night. The key is to remain consistent. When she listens really well, I am a fan of positive reinforcement. She knows now that if she listens to me in the evenings, I will give her some extra time to play. I explained to her that if she fights with me, there is less time for fun.

Although these are still two problems that we face routinely, consistency and accountability are the keys to success.

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