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Teach Your Child to Tell the Truth

Being honest is a characteristic quality that everyone hopes will be displayed by those in their lives, we especially hope this will be a quality our children will portray. Even those little white lies are lies, especially in situations where it can harm someone or something. Lies can only lead to bigger trouble, in many cases, and even though we want to think our children would never lie to us they will, at least once in a while.

If you know your child well enough you’ll know when they are lying to you. Call it a parent’s intuition or just knowing the way your children act in a variety of situations. Parents are gifted with a sixth sense.

Preschool
What is a lie? Can your child answer that question? If not, or if they have lied to you but really don’t know what it is, talk to your child about what the meaning of a lie is. Although understanding the difference between miscommunication and a lie can be difficult at this age, like if you said you would bring chicken home for dinner, but bring steak home because the store ran out of chicken at the store, this would not be considered a lie, just miscommunication. Therefore it is best to explain this as simply as possible.

The little boy who cried wolf would have never done so had he known the outcome. Starting a lie about something can only cause problems for those the lie was started about and the person who started in the Boy Who Cried Wolf story. Tell your child the story of the little boy who cried wolf and how this situation should have been handled. Read other books to your youngsters that teach lessons about lying.

Main points to address:

  • What is a lie? Talk about this question with your child and explain to them what a lie is.
  • Read books or tell stories that demonstrate being honest.

Grades K-3rd
When your child gets a little older you can get into the details of the difference between a lie, an accident, or miscommunication. But don’t wait for your child to tell a lie or get into trouble, talk to them about lying first. It’s important to talk over these things before the situation surfaces. You can do this at any time, while you’re driving in the car, grocery shopping, or baking together, anytime that you and your child have together one-on-one is a great time to talk about important issues.

While you are talking to your child use “what if Esituations. Such as the chicken situation above, or “what if your friend did something wrong and your teacher asks you about it, would you lie or tell the truth? EEmphasize the danger in telling a lie, “if you did lie about your friend to your teacher, what could happen to your friend that could become dangerous? ETalk to them about how sometimes when children get away with certain things it only makes them feel they can continue a destructive behavior.

When they do something wrong and tell the truth reward them for that, without getting in the way of making sure whatever it was they did should be avoided. Perhaps you can discipline them for doing what they did wrong, but give them a break on the discipline because they told you the truth.

Main points to address:

  • Use “what if Eexamples to talk about telling the truth.
  • Emphasize the danger in starting a lie.

Grades 4th-6th
Continue the talk (as stated in the K-3rd grade section of this article) to demonstrate the importance of situations where it is extremely imperative to tell the truth, as if their friend is doing something that can be harmful to themselves or other people.

Explain to your child how the truth always comes to the surface, one way or another, and a lie only makes the situation worse than it originally would have been.

Just like the boy who cried wolf, many movies and books that are centered on lying can begin a great conversation on the topic. Once the movie is over start a conversation and ask questions to your child about how lying affected the main or minor characters. How did the end result make your child feel? Would they have done the same thing, if not how would they have acted in that situation?

Main points to address:

  • Give examples of situations where it is extremely important to tell the truth.
  • Express how telling a lie only gets them into more trouble.
  • Watch movies or read books that are centered on lying.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Character.

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