Encouraging Honesty

What was the last little (or not so little) white lie your children told you?  You’ve probably been told a lie, and told a lie at least once in your life.  It’s something that is second nature to us, and we lie for a myriad of reasons.  What can you do to help your children lie less and tell the truth more?  Here are 3 ideas.

1-reward truth.  If you’ve got a particularly difficult child, you’ll have to start here.  Stop punishing them for the lies, start rewarding the truth that they tell and rather than taking things away from them, give them more responsibilities as they prove themselves to be worthy.  We’ve gone around doing the wrong thing and just frustrating ourselves in the process.

2-let them learn from their mistakes.  Yes, it’s your responsibility to make sure your kids don’t get hurt, but the only way they’ll learn is if sometimes you let them learn the lesson themselves.  Don’t let them get into serious danger, but if there are little lessons they can learn along the way, let them learn them without your intervention.

3-set the example.  yes, they will learn from their mistakes, but the most important thing you can do is set a good example for them.  There is no amount of rationalization that can explain to them why you’re allowed to lie and they aren’t.  You don’t have to tell them the long drawn out story of why you are getting a divorce, or you’re always cranky after work, but it is good for them to be told the truth, or at least a watered down version of the truth (but not a “sugar pill”).

Raising your children on the truth will not only make them better people, it will also set them up to be more successful people.  Those who lie don’t get ahead in the long run, they merely get ahead only to be quickly buried by the truth.

By the way, don’t forget to forgive them (and yourself) when they tell lies.  They may have done something wrong, but that shouldn’t change how much you love them, so make sure they know you still love them and forgive them as well (especially while they’re young).

What experiences have you had with your children telling lies?  What have you learned and what tips to you have to share?  Share your thoughts below.

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