As we have transitioned away from authoritarian parenting, we have moved away from using any punishments against the children. One particularly difficult situation for us to get our heads wrapped around was lying. We thought, trust is everything, lying is bad, there has to be some sort of consequence, right?
The approach we found worked best to stop lying, was to always trust them and to stick to
our no punishments policy. Here's why. Before, when Josh (8y) would
come to us with the truth about something negative (say he broke
something) he had been met with a negative reaction from us (anger,
yelling, belittling, spanking). Can you imagine how scary that must be
for a child? Naturally he became less inclined to come to us with bad
news for fear of our reaction.
Then the poor boy, we brought
the fight to him with questions like "Did you break this?!" to which
he'd respond "No, I don't know what happened." and then he'd be punished
for lying. He was punished if he told the truth, and punished if he
lied. How confusing.
It has taken time for us to rebuild
trust, specifically rebuilding Josh's trust in us. We had to extend
trust even when we 'knew' Josh was telling a lie. We had to prove
ourselves to be a safe place for him to come to with anything.