As parents, we all have values that we wish to instill in our children because we want them to turn into good humans. One of those important values, at least in my household, is honesty.
Let’s face it: kids tend to tell lies as they reach those years in which they realize they can. They do it for a number of reasons, including to avoid getting in trouble or to get what they want. When your child tells you a lie and you figure it out, it can be disheartening. However, your response to their lie can make all the difference in the world. If you want to help your child become honest, it’s important that you make honesty a focus. Here are 7 ways to do that.
1. Model honesty.
If you want to raise honest children, then you have to be honest, too. Why? At the end of the day, you can tell your child to do whatever you wish, but kids pay attention to what we do and how we speak. Ultimately, they pay attention to our actions more so than our words.
2. Do not set them up.
It might be tempting to set your child up to lie. However, when you do this, you are basically encouraging them to lie and then reprimanding them for it. Ultimately, this sends the wrong message.
3. Reward truth.
Make sure that you praise them when you see them telling the truth. Humans, kids especially, learn through praise and reward. So, if you honor honesty, then make sure you notice it when it is present.
4. Make honesty a positive focus.
While your kids are young, make sure they realize that honesty is an important value to you and your family. Of course, be age-appropriate, however, when the subject of lying and honesty comes up, explain how lying breaks trust.
5. Avoid labeling.
When you notice your child lying, do not label them as a liar. Their behavior might be lying, but your kids are not their behavior. When you put a label on your child, they might decide to live up to it.
6. Do not reward lies.
Do not reward lies. As soon as you realize your child is lying, you need to address the behavior.
7. Give consequences.
Make sure that there are always consequences for lying. It is best to already have a consequence in mind, so there is no thought about what will happen because they will already know. Then, as soon as you notice the behavior, you need to consistently enforce consequences.