Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


By Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D. Traditional Realist

The lack of parents’ ability to understand their own child's manipulation, deception and lies can be attributed to the shrinking of the family often to a single child. Small family size minimizes the lying issue as there are not numerous siblings to imitate the behavior and make it obvious.
Because of the lack of quantity time spent with their child and no other children to rat him out, too many parents believe that the child is always telling the truth. A beginning teacher learns to be more skeptical of children's stories after being burned by too many of them. Parents are often amusing to a seasoned teacher when they seriously tell the teacher, “my child does not lie.”
“Not me” is a spontaneous answer by a child to any question concerning misbehavior. “Did you leave these clothes on the floor?” “Not me,” even when the parent saw her. “Did you drop the vase?”  “Not me” before the question is fully stated.    
The problem for the modern parent to this “not me” response is the inability of the parent to believe their child can be such a convincing liar. They have insufficient time, motivation and energy to learn their child is deceptive and then discipline the child. Besides there is much guilt for not doing all the things their own parents did with them. They just want their children to like them.
There is little impetus for the parents tracking down the truth even when the parent saw with his own eyes that the child created the mess. It is easier to disregard the incident and focus on something more important to the parent. Time constraints limit modern parents from training their child from doing the right thing in the first place.
Modern children are also experts at not following directions. The child is automatically able to switch into the dumb act when cornered by the parent for being disobedient. This “game” is difficult to eliminate since parents do not have enough experience with their child to realize the child is playing them. Often it takes another adult to point out to the parent that the child is faking his inability to do the simplest task.
Other games that are familiar to modern parents are “I can't do it,” which really means, “I won't do it.” The “I forgot it” game normally translates into, “I didn't do it” or the procrastination game, “I waited until the last minute and then, I couldn't do it.” These are negative habits, which need to be reversed to establish a healthy attitude in becoming responsible.
These games are a variation of not being honest with self and others. They lead a child into not being accountable for his actions. He realizes his irresponsible behavior can be hidden by lying in different ways.
This tactic will continue to be employed until some authority figure confronts the child. This person has to convince the youngster his behavior is counter- productive. The person has to specifically point out how this dishonest behavior prevents him from developing into what he could become. The knowledge of these debilitating habits allows the young person to reverse his direction toward a more positive one.
Optimally this “not me” and other games should be stopped as soon as possible. This is why parents need to take initiative and the time necessary to eliminate it. It is essential to teach responsibility a building block of a healthy and productive life.
Disciplining one’s child is not pushing him away: it is the opposite. The gift of giving of one’s wisdom makes the child’s journey easier and better.
This experience of knowing one’s parents care enough to take the time to teach a moral lesson brings the child and parent closer together. This is the reason why after disciplining your child he wants to sit on your lap and hug you.
When he becomes a young adult and has a child of his own he will understand and thank the parent for teaching these tough lessons that helped him become an honorable person.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at


Post a Comment

<< Home