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October 11, 2017

Family Corner: ‘How Do I Handle Lying’

At Shepherd Care we support a therapeutic approach called TBRI; that stands for Trust-Based Relational Intervention. And it helps parents provide the kind of effective support that a child who has experienced trauma needs.

You can watch a full episode from Dr. Karyn Purvis where she addresses a common question amongst adoptive parents, ‘How Do I Handle Lying?’

In the clip, Dr. Karyn first reminds us that there is an important stage in a child’s development, typically between ages 4 and 6, where they begin to explore the truth. And if your child wasn’t able to develop that during those years then they will explore it later. We see this in a lot of adoptions of our slightly older children.

When Dr. Karyn approaches the issue of lying, she reminds parents of where our hearts should be, “I want to teach my child skills for life. And that includes honest communication with trust and integrity.” As parents navigate this with smaller children, a good exercise would be asking, “Is this real or pretend?” in the event that a child may be telling us a bit of a story. Handling a misbehavior like lying straight on is important, but it’s equally important to temper any anger this lie can cause us as parents to have. Dr. Karyn describes this as a balance between structure and nurture.

“My experience with children who tell stories or lies, is that when they understand that [mom or dad] is here to help them succeed, and we can work it out together, that child will come forward, to tell the truth,” said Dr. Karyn.

Wither persistence and resources every adoptive parent can help their child experience full healing from any trauma they’ve endured in their past. Every child has the ability to thrive!


  1. This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing this
    one. A must read post!

    • Joe Sica says:

      Johny, thanks for taking the time to comment on this article. We want to put out articles that are helpful to all parents but especially those folks who are building their families through the wonderful option of adoption. Speaking not only as the Executive Director but a father through adoption having articles and educational tracks sends a positive message to the incredible birth parents who have given their child life, choose a couple to parent their child, and voluntarily terminated their parental rights and trust that the couple will raise their child in a true loving manner.

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