Children are more likely to do well if they have learned from a young age to tell the truth, even when it’s not easy. Here are a few things to keep in mind when fostering honesty in your children (of all ages).
- Try to avoid cornering your children into lies by asking demanding questions when you already know the answer. Don’t give them the impression that they might get away with it if they lie.
- When your child owns up to bad behaviour, or confides in you about something sensitive, praise them for their honesty even if you didn’t like what they had to say. Separate honesty from other issues.
- Remember that when kids lie, it’s usually because lying feels safer than telling the truth. If you suspect that they’re lying, try to find the reason instead of accusing them of lying. Some helpful things to ask might include, “Is there any more to that story?” “Is there something you’re afraid to tell me?” “What else is bothering you?”
- Make a game of trying to find lies and misleading statements in advertising. Talk about why companies might want to deceive or hide information.
- Model honesty and integrity in your own behaviour, even when it’s “no big deal”. Respect copyright and piracy laws. Return the extra change if you’re given too much. Own up to made-up excuses, lies of omission, and other fibs. Play fair.
Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, known as Developmental Assets, that help adolescents to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Visit us here every Wednesday to read about different ways that you, your family, and your community can take action to help equip our young people develop resilience and achieve success in life.