Question:I need a little help and guidance. I am looking for a book or something on when your child lies. My step-daughter (whom we have full custody of) lies constantly. She lies about everything: what she ate, hiding clothes in her bag to change into them later, hiding money and lying to cover her tracks, etc. She has the most manipulating ways to make us believe whatever lie she thinks up in the heat of the moment. She is so good at it because she has been doing it for years, and we didn't know it! I have read a book on when adults lie (People of the lie by M. Scott Peck), but I need a seriously good book on what to do and how to train a child to stop lying. We are hard on her when she does lie, we aren't wimpy parents by any means, but we are not abusive either. Oh, and she is only 11 years old but very mature and grown up for her age. She gets straight A's and excells at everything she does, so this is a real perdicament. If you know of any person, doctor, or author that has spoken or written on the topic, I would so much appreciate that name.
I think you would really enjoy a book I've found entitled Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. While the book addresses more than just lying, I found its chapter 8 on Honesty to be very helpful.
I'd also encourage you to browse a bit through our index of RLA questions using the keyword "lying." There is quite a bit of sound advice.
I want to encourage you to keep working gently with this particular character issue, especially given your comments about her general performance of excellence. I have a similar child and her past seasons of dishonesty seemed to stem from an extremely heightened desire to be perfect or to meet the unattainably high expectations she had of herself. The truth of imperfection was harder for her to stomach than living with the subtle deceit that upheld an image of "having it altogether." A true heart-understanding of grace needed to be cultivated. Because this has been going on so long without your knowledge, it will be a road of retraining that will take awhile. Don't hesitate to seek professional Christian help along the way.
Lastly, be sure to spend some time reviewing the Old Testament's account of Jacob's life in Genesis. This was a man who had such a heart for God, and at the same time, had such a bent for lying. God did not give up on him; rather, He redirected and retrained this man until he was humbly and confidently clinging to his God, wholly dependent on God's ways and His blessing. What a joy to be reminded of God's patience, goodness, and love for His children.