Ann Dolin: Students who lie about homework aren't necessarily bad kids. They could be lying out of a sense of shame or discomfort or maybe they don't want to admit their work is too hard or they don't know how to start. Here are some tips to make sure your child doesn't make lying a habit.
First, you need to find out why your child is being untruthful. Is he overloaded with work? Does he not understand the material? It might help to talk to his teacher to get an impression of your child's mastery of the material in class. Understanding your child's reasons for lying without condoning the behavior is a big step towards fixing the problem.
If possible try to help your child with the work but be patient. More importantly, if you see your child being honest, be sure to praise him. If he comes to you with a bad grade or tells you about overdue work, thank him for being honest instead of scolding him. This repairs lines of communication and let's your child know you're on his side.
If you catch your child lying, it's smart to always give them a change to tell the truth before punishing them. Communication is key, so make sure you are clear about the penalties as well.
Remind your children the consequences before penalizing them, so they get a chance to tell the truth without feeling trapped. If you communicate openly with your child and understand his reasons for lying you can keep this problem from becoming a habit and rebuild a relationship of trust and honesty.