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Monday Mom challenge: Stop lying!

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Harmless lies? Maybe not.

What’s the harm, you ask? It’s just a little white lie. We all tell little lies, you say. Well, maybe we do. But does that make a lack of honesty okay? Has lying become a habit for you? If you don't want your kids to see you telling lies, or worse, tell lies themselves, then it's time to stop lying.

Woman covering mouth

If lying has become a habit, maybe it's time to break the habit. Big lies or little lies, lying is lying. It's being untruthful, deceitful, sly...whatever you want to call it, a lie is a lie. It's definitely not conduct becoming of a woman trying to keep it all together and raise thoughtful children.

The next time you find yourself sliding into a lie, ask yourself, "Is this really necessary?" Think before you speak , think about the ramifications of the lie and think about the example you are creating for your children.

Why do you do it?

Do you know why you lie? Is it to make yourself feel better? Or, so you tell yourself, to make a friend or family member feel better? To avoid a troublesome situation? Are you even aware that you are lying? Is it that smooth a transition from the truth to the untruth for you?

For example, your sweetie gets dressed in the morning in a new outfit and comes into the kitchen and asks, "How do I look?" The outfit is garish -- tacky, even. What do you say? Do you tell the honest truth and tell this person that you love that they look horrible, possibly deeply hurting them? Or do you lie outright and say, "You look great!"

Psychologist Robert Feldman at the University of Massachusetts has conducted research into how, when and why people lie. He has found that people lie...and often -- several times an hour, up to 25 times a day! People lie for different reasons: to protect others, to promote themselves, to avoid getting in trouble and every variation thereof. So why do you lie?

A benefit to lying?

You may think that there is a benefit to lying, and perhaps there is. But the question to ask yourself is, "Do I really have to lie to achieve this benefit?" If the answer is no, then try not taking the easy way out with a lie. Can you, with a lilt in your voice, tell your sweetie, "Your face lights up when you put on that outfit. You love it, and it shows?" There's a difference, you see, between tact and deceit.

If there's no real benefit to lying, why do it? If your kids are going to find out sooner or later anyway that you did indeed swipe their Halloween candy, fess up, apologize accept the consequences -- and maybe find some self-control for next Halloween season so it doesn't happen again. It's not a pleasant thought, but it didn't feel good to swipe the candy and lie in the first place.

Maybe just a couple

There is likely no way to completely forego a lie here or there, unfortunate an idea as that may be. There may be no way around claiming you love that poop brown sweater that your mother-in-law gave you without risking a major family rift!

But being more honest in your day-to-day dealings with your family, your friends, your colleagues -- even yourself -- can help build emotionally healthier life for you and your family... and be a better example for your kids.

more about Honesty

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