I have always aimed for raising honest kids. The truth is, that people, and more specifically, kids, lie.
That is a harsh truth, we just need to go ahead and get out of the way. So, if you are aiming for perfection here, you are going to end up disappointed. As parents, we aren’t supposed to raise perfect humans. Instead, our goal is to help instill the right values and encourage the right behaviors so that our kids grow into healthy, happy, and functional adults. If you want to keep your kids honest, here are some helpful tips.
1. Model honesty.
You can want your child to have values all you want, but unless you model them, it isn’t likely you are going to teach them anything. You have to practice what you preach, and that means being honest to them and everyone else, too.
2. Don’t set them up.
If you have a feeling they are lying, do not set them up. Be straightforward and explain that you can see the lie. Otherwise, you are merely encouraging them to lie, which is deceptive in its own right.
3. Don’t overlook a lie, even if it’s funny.
When kids lie, they can get creative. In those moments, you might reflexively giggle. But, don’t do that, and don’t overlook the lie, no matter what. Call it out and hold them accountable.
4. Watch the back.
Dishonesty doesn’t always appear outright. You have to read between the lines and pick up on what they are holding back and when they are being deceptive. When they are, you need to correct them.
5. Don’t reward lies.
If they lie to you, do not reward this behavior. Implement consequences in the same way, consistently.
6. Catch them being honest.
When they are being honest, make sure you catch that too, and support them for being honest. For example, if your child comes to you and admits something, be supportive and encourage this.
7. Help them to understand the impact of lying.
Make sure that you are working to help them understand why lying is bad. If you just say it is bad and never explain why, they are going to only see the momentary benefit.