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What If I Think My Kids Are Lying to Get a Sibling in Trouble?

Let's say your younger son tells you his older brother hit him while you were in the other room, but your older son vehemently claims he is innocent. How should you handle the situation?

First, think about whether this is a recurring behavior. Do your kids often whine, complain and tattle with the intent of getting another sibling in trouble? If so, you can try to reduce that behavior by giving the complaining child a consequence like doing a chore. This will take them away from doing fun things for a while so they can complete the task for Mom or Dad.

This has two benefits: First, it stops whatever was going on that started the event, if there was in fact an event. Second, it will teach your children they should come to you only if there is a real issue, reducing the likelihood that they will continue to either "cry wolf" to get attention or lie to get a sibling in trouble.

If you suspect your child is telling the truth, you'll have to use your own observations and instincts to determine whether or not that's true. A good idea is to immediately separate the two kids and send them to their rooms or to opposite ends of the house. This will effectively end the squabble and provide a mild negative consequence to reinforce the concept that getting along in brotherly and/or sisterly harmony is better for everyone involved.