Create a Safety Zone
Can You Handle The Truth?
Sometimes it's difficult for our kids to be honest with us. They are afraid of judgment, being made fun of, and being “wrong.” As parents, we lose our temper so many times that our kids start to predict when it will happen again and try to avoid it. At that point, they become more afraid of telling the truth than they are of the possibility of being caught in a lie. This is true for all kids, but when they have ADHD, the problem is often exaggerated. They often think of time in terms of “now” and “not now.” The idea of cause and effect is skewed for them.
If telling the truth is a value for you and your family, this can create a difficult situation. You want to have appropriate consequences in place, and you also want to encourage your kids to be honest as much as possible.
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The "Safety Zone" And What It Does
The solution we use at our house is “the safety zone.” When my instincts (or the evidence) suggest that my kids are not being honest, sometimes I give them a one-time out. If they tell the truth, they will not get in trouble for what they did. Typically they fess up.
The safety zone does two things:
- Reinforces to your kids that being honest is the most important house rule.
- Creates a sense of trust and security for your kids.
It also creates an opportunity to talk about what made it hard, to be honest in the first place, which is what the real discussion is probably about. You may find that digging a little deeper, creating that safety zone, and having that hard conversation begins to grow trust between you both. Try it out the next time your kids tell you something, and your gut says – really?