Ways To Instill Honesty In Children

4 min read

When it comes to having a good family life, we cannot underestimate the importance of honesty within it. “Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. When it comes to small children and honesty, it’s not usually hard to find. The word “brutal” comes to mind. With older children and teens, the truth sometimes becomes more elusive. Especially as your kids grow older, honesty becomes an even bigger thing as, without it, you will struggle to trust your child and potentially each other. Honesty must work both ways, and here we have a few tips on encouraging honesty within your family and how it is such a valuable thing.

You have to deal with it when it happens, or you’ll lose an opportunity to teach your children the importance of honesty. Here are a few ideas to help guide your children, to be honest. Here are eight ways to teach your kids to be honest.

1. Reward the Truth.

As parents, we are often quick to scold. Sometimes we aren’t always so quick to praise. It would be best if you rewarded honesty with loads of praise and hugs. It will build self-confidence and reinforce positive behavior. Plus, a child can never get too much love. We often catch kids in lies. But if we want to teach them to value honesty, we need to look for opportunities to acknowledge when they tell the truth, especially in situations where it might have been easier for them to lie. When they tell you the truth about something they’ve done, take a moment to show that you appreciate honesty in children by saying, “I’m really glad you told me the truth.”

2. When to be Quiet.

We have all heard the saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” One needs not to lie. Just don’t say anything or find something else to say that is positive. Children learn early — from their parents — how to lie for the sake of politeness or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. These kinds of prosocial lies are in practice because they smooth our interactions with others. But being honest does not have to equal being rude or hurtful. The key is to balance honesty with consideration for the other person’s feelings. We want to teach our children to be honest, but we want to teach them to be kind as well. We need to teach honesty in children in a way that potentially helps others rather than potentially hurts others.

3. The Hard Truth

Teach your kids to do the right thing no matter what.

Doing what is right always outweighs protecting the feelings of someone who is doing wrong. Wrong is always wrong. Teach your children to stand for what is right. We talk about lying being wrong, but we don’t highlight the alternative behavior. Kids need examples for how to behave in situations where lying might be more straightforward, stories that show how, to be honest, how does it feel? Those are important messages. For older kids, talking about the characters’ honesty in their reading books can provoke an inspiring and instructive discussion.

4. Model It.

You do not want your child to hear you telling a lie or see you perform a dishonest act. Those little eyes and ears are always open. If you don’t want your kids to lie to you, don’t lie to them, and don’t let them hear you telling lies. It’s one thing to say to kids that honesty is essential, but it sends a mixed message if they see you lying.

Over time, your so-called “little white lies” teach your child that dishonesty is okay in some situations — and leaves them to interpret which situations those are. If you want your child to grow up with the belief that honesty is the best policy, do your best to live by that philosophy, too.

5. Do Not Lead the Witness.

Though it’s tempting to test them, try to avoid asking questions that give your child a chance not to be honest. Kids this age will lie out of a desire to avoid getting into trouble. If you know they did it, don’t ask! If you ask, you’re giving them the option to lie. So they lie, and then you get upset about that, and now there are two things where there used to be only one.

 Be focused on the issue at hand. And if you’re not sure who is lying, go straight to the consequence. Focus on what you want to get accomplished. It would be best if you showed your kids that there’s no positive consequence for denying responsibility.

6. Truth or Consequences

Help your child grow in the virtue of honesty .

Your kids will eventually lie to you, and you will eventually catch them. There must be consequences for their actions. Appropriate discipline should be carried out and followed through. 

Kids learn to lie earlier and more skillfully than their counterparts in less punitive environments. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discipline. But in an atmosphere with a punishing, authoritarian approach to discipline, developing the ability to lie can be seen as a protective measure.

One thing parents can do is not have a great big emotional reaction. The more explosive the parent gets, the more frightened the child receives, and the more likely they are to lie. Simply remaining calm and sticking to the facts you’ve observed is one way to instill honesty in children. Make it not worth it to lie.

7. Correct Mistakes.

Catching your child being dishonest is an excellent time to break out your teacher hat. Help him correct the mistake. Talk about how he could have responded or reacted differently. If you balance these two aspects of parenting clearly, your children will be more likely to ask for your permission and more likely to confess if they have broken a rule. They need to respect you and believe you will be warm, accepting, and non-punitive. If kids think you have the right to set rules, they are more likely to be truthful if they appreciate you — but still want to argue with you about what is safe and what they should be allowed to do.

8.Honest Friends

Two Girls Playing Together On Tire Swing In Garden

Your child learns a lot from their friends. “Show me your friends, and I will show you your future”. If your child’s friends lie and cheat, so will they. But if your child’s friends are upstanding and honest, your son or daughter will be that much better off. Keep an ear out for any of your children’s friends who lie. 

The Global Child Prodigy wishes you Happy Parenting,

Also read: How To Make Lazy Child Active?

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