Parenting Tips: How To Teach Your Child Honesty


Something every parent wants to teach their children is honesty, trust, and responsibility. However, how can we teach them these values if we’re not honest with ourselves or them.

How many times have you been on the phone with someone and begin to tell, what you see as, a “white lie” while your child is listening? They know what your saying is not the truth. How can you expect your child to be honest with you when you are teaching them something else?

Your children learn more about how to behave from watching you than they ever do by listening to what you say. If you are wondering why your child is bitter toward you or why they roll their eyes when you give a lecture, it could be because they see you as a hypocrite. They may wonder, “How many times has mom or dad lied to me?” or they may have lost respect for you all together. If you catch your children in lies, chances are they learned it somewhere; especially if there was no reason for them to tell the lie at all.

If this has happened between you and your tween or teen, it is still not too late to repair the damage. The first thing you need to do is one of the hardest things for mankind in general to do. It involves sitting them down, admitting that you have lied (without pointing fingers), and apologizing for not setting a good example.

Saying the big “I’m sorry” is hard for anyone, but if you want your child to learn to say those words when they have messed up, they need to hear you say them from your heart as well. Again, teaching by example is the best way for all of us to learn.

If your child is still in the grade school years, starting this conversation early will prevent problems with dishonesty in the future. With all age groups, you might want to try sharing something personal that is going on in your life at an appropriate level for their age.

For instance, if you and your spouse are having problems and going to counseling, it would go a long way to sit down with your child(ren) and tell them what is going on in a way they can understand. This way they’re not blindsided if things turn for the worse.

Another example, is when you are on the phone with friends, be sure to be honest with them. If you are watching a movie, don’t tell your friend you have to get off the phone because you are giving your child a bath. Why not be honest with your friend and tell them the truth? If your child sees you lie about simple things, why should you expect them to tell you the truth in the future?

As our Moms taught us, honesty is still the best policy. It is never too late. It is important that your children know they can come to you with anything. As a kid, I never got in trouble for telling the truth, even if the truth was not something my parents wanted to hear. They always made that very clear and I am having those same conversations with my daughter now. Telling white lies can be a terrible habit, but just remember your children are watching and learning from you. Make 2012 the year that truth matters and as the good book says, “The truth will set you free.”

How do you teach your children about honesty? What steps can you take in 2012 to be more honest?

Picture courtesy of flickr.

Alicia Ivey is a mother and wife. She enjoys helping her daughter pursue her interests and will continue to do so until her daughter wants to stop. She is very involved with family and would walk the extra mile to help someone out. When Alicia is not traveling she enjoys writing for Step out on the town with your little one in the most fashion forward baby clothes, darling baby headbands or beautiful tutus.

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