As you read that title, you are probably thinking it is a typo and that I actually meant ADD. However, it wasn’t a typo. Dr. Charles Fay recently used this term in referring to kids who display, what he calls, “Honesty Deficit Disorder.” If you are like most parents, your response may be – “Oh, that. Of course my kid has suffered from that at one time or another.”
I am always amazed as I sit with parents in my office who are shocked when they find out something as simple as their child lied about completing their homework. The reality is – kids lie in order to not be in trouble. Of course, when they are caught, things are far worse. So, how do we get our kids to stop the fib telling? While there is no foolproof method, there is one overriding factor that parents can implement to reduce their child’s dishonesty.
The most powerful thing that we can do is make sure that we aren’t carriers of this dishonesty disorder. In other words, make sure that we are modeling honest ethical behavior. I had a parent in my office with her 14 year old, whom she was upset with for his continual lying. In the course of the session, she explained to me (in front of the child) how she had managed to get her son into a different school by doctoring a utility bill so that it would look like she lived at an address that she didn’t. That mom’s behavior communicated to her kid that it is OK to lie when you think it justifiable. Regardless of what she says, he will do what she does.
So, if your kid suffers from HDD, begin inoculating him or her with a steady dose of honest behavior that they can learn to emulate. Model honesty!