Raising honest children today, I believe, is really difficult. There are times I think there is no more truth. Everything has a spin on it that benefits one group or another.
Telling the truth can get you into trouble. It can make your friends mad at you. It seems people want you to say what they want to hear, rather than what is honestly the truth.
If we are to teach our children to tell the truth, we have to create room for candor – for an authentic voice. We have to allow children to speak their mind, even if their thoughts or values differ from ours.
But when the value they are moving toward is not the truth, we need to show them how to grasp the truth and face it.
What happens when a child is caught in a lie? I believe we have to hold them responsible. We need to set firm, fair consequences and limits. The child who lies must suffer the consequences.
Discuss honesty in words the child can understand. Stories of rewards for telling the truth are effective.
The best lesson is MODELING honesty. Be willing to admit your own mistakes with the truth. Beware of hypocrisy – Don’t preach one thing and do another. Avoid calling the child a liar. Teach rather than scold. It works better . . . and that’s the truth!