Teaching Kids Truthfulness



Some children are extremely truthful by their very nature.  My youngest child comes to mind, as she always seemed to "tell" on herself.  Other children sometimes lie to protect their siblings.  But, I think this is the minority.  Kids, as most humans, will often tell lies so they don't get into trouble or their parents and peers will think better of them.  It often becomes a pattern, which can carry over to adulthood, if it isn't nipped in the bud.

So how do you instill a stong sense of truthfulness in your child?  How do you make them understand that it is always best to tell the truth, no matter the consequences?  When I was growing up, I always knew that my parents thought that telling a lie was one of the worst things I could do.  I knew I would be in big trouble and my parents would be greatly disappointed if I told a lie. 

There are a few specific things you, as a parent, can do to encourage your children to tell the truth. 

  1. Tell the truth yourself.  Don't get caught telling even a white lie or your child will not respect what you are saying and not doing.
  2. Keep the lines of communication open with your child and let him know that he can tell you anything.  Absolutely anything.
  3. Remind your child that while you may disapprove of his actions, you will always love him.  Showing unconditional love does wonders in parenting.
  4. Let your child know that they will be punished more for telling the lie than telling the truth, no matter what the action.
  5. Be an observant and active parent.  Do not let your child get away with even a small suspected untruth.  This is how things snowball out of control.
  6. Praise your child when he does tell the truth, no matter how hard it was to come clean with you.

Sharon Pierce McCullough