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As the mother of four grown children and grandmother of one, let me say first that the age of the child telling the lie really makes a big difference in how a parent should respond to a lying child. In addition, the nature of the lie should be taken into consideration. For example, I would respond very differently to a small child who lied about stealing a toy from a friend than to a teenaged child who lied about stealing from a department store. That being said, a few things are important to keep in mind: 1) Make sure you've got the facts straight: You don't want to accuse or confront a child about lying without making sure your information is accurate. If there is still some question about what actually happened, give the child a chance to tell his/her side of the story. 2) Confronting a child and issuing discipline should always be done calmly, reasonably, and with love, care, and a clear purpose: Dealing with sin can only benefit the child if the parent dealing with the situation takes the time and effort to turn the incident into a learning experience. 3) If consequences are in order, make sure the consequences suit the sin: Again, the age and understanding of the child and the nature of the lie come into play here. Don't over-punish or under-punish, or the child will be confused, or even rebel further. Also, talk with the child to explain why you decided on the consequences. 4) Confronting a child and issuing discipline should always aim for the goal of restoring the child: God is patient with us, and He sent His Son to reconcile us to Himself. When we confront and/or discipline our children, it's important to make it clear that any consequences we issue are intended for the purpose of pointing the child to God's ways. Pray with the child, point him/her to scripture, and if discipline is necessary, issue the discipline and then pray together for restoration. 5) Warn the child of future discpline if s/he continues to lie: Sometimes children put their toes in the water to see how adults will respond. When dealing with a particular sin, remind the child that you are issuing consequenes in the hopes that s/he will not continue to sin in that area. At the same time, warn the child that continued sin in a particular area will result in greater consequences. Most of all: Deal with the situation with a heart of love and understanding. God is so gracious toward us. How can we not exercise this same degree of grace with our own children?
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