"Parents cannot effectively communicate their love to a child unless they are also a source of effective authority. "

Ask them no questions, and they will tell you no lies!

Question

Dear John and team,

almost 2 years ago I posted a question about my daughter lying about this and that and just generally not wanting to give a straight answer. We were advised to "ask no questions", and not make a big deal out of it. Hence we dropped the issue. It has popped up now and then, we just deal with it as it comes, or assume she's telling the truth at times. I have also explained and demonstrated, that if she lies and I find out, there's a bigger punishment. We've read verses, stories etc.

Now, I believe the problem has grown and the little white lies seem to be popping up here and there more frequently, as she gains more independence to do her daily responsibilities. Sometimes she lies when asked if she's completed her morning routine (We give her a list - its also impossible to know whether she's done them all, without following her around). Sometimes its me calling her to come out and she doesnt come, and feigns ignorance she didn't hear me each time - then I realise she's been lying as she's suddenly got 'deaf'. Last week it was lying about eating a popsicle in school because she was afraid I'd not give her anymore treats at home. Whole school had been given a popsicle during a clean-up day and I had asked her when she was talking about some boy having a popsicle in his lunchbox, "You got one too didn't you?" And she says emphatically "No, I didn't". Turns out it was because she was afraid of missing out on another treat at home. Sometimes it's asking her a simple straight forward question, assuming she's not going to lie, but she says yes the first time and no a second time. And then I get frustrated because I don't know what she's saying. Sometimes its telling half truths so her brother will get into trouble, such as "Aidan hit me" (But I find out it was an accident). I simply can't preempt every situation but it seems like she's got into the nasty habit of using dishonesty in a variety of settings whenever it suits - and I find it hard to trust her word for it.

This problem seems very resistant to correction. We have made her write out bible verses 100x (twice now in 3 weeks!), and while she's writing it, she'll conveniently tell a lie when we ask her a simple direct question. Plus, When asked to say the verse to me, she'll pretend she can't remember it with exceptionally great acting skills. And when told to stay on her chair until she can recall it, she'll come out in 10 seconds and rattle it off perfectly. We've sent her to bed early for a week. We've spanked. We've prayed...

What do we do from here? Drop it? pursue correction? Pretend it doesn't exist since these aren't great big lies most of the time? It's caused a lot of tension between us, as it's really frustrating to be lied to so often.

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