17 Jan How to Teach Honesty to a Child?
“Honest hearts produce honest actions” -Brigham Young
How to teach honesty to a child is one frequently sought out topic by parents as honesty is one of the most important character traits that children should learn and be able to grasp at a young age.
Going to school and being educated can help children go a long way in this modern world, but honesty and integrity is what will help them build lasting relationships based on trust and confidence.
So Why is Honesty Important?
Honesty is not just about telling the truth. It is this and more. And this is what children should learn.
By being honest, children should also be truthful about who they are and how they show themselves to others, as well as the emotions they are feeling. This also covers being true with what they want and what they need in order to live their lives openly.
But why do children need to be honest?
It may not be that obvious, but being honest has numerous benefits. And here are some of them:
- Honesty is the foundation of a lasting and happy relationship. It builds trust and helps make the bond more secure.
- It builds credibility. This means honest people always line up with the truth. And it makes people depend on your words and rely on your actions.
- It empowers one’s self and others. By being truthful, you allow yourself and the people around you to do something about the situation or the problem. It can also bring healing and hope.
- It promotes good health. By being honest, you lessen stress in your life, which is related to a number of health disorders.
- It gives people freedom. Yes, the truth will set us free, free from lies, pretense and from false people. It also frees us from trouble.
How to Encourage Honesty in Kids
Being able to understand why children lie, plus knowing the many benefits that this value brings, is a catalyst for teaching children to be truthful.
Lying needs to be nipped in the bud as early as possible so children can take the path to a more honest life.
And here are some of the easiest, yet most effective ways to help you make your home a more honest place.
Let your children understand early on about how much you value honesty
It can be easily seen how children want to please their parents.
This is one of the first impulses that they have, and some children carry that urge, that desire, even into adulthood.
You can take advantage of this by explaining to them the value of honesty for you as a person and teach them that lying is not as fun as others make it to be, or as helpful.
Focus their attention to the fact that if they were honest, they will gain your trust and respect, as you have gained theirs.
That would make them want to be honest for your sake, at first. Then, when they have established in their minds that you are equals because you trust and respect each other, then they can begin to be honest for their own sake.
Don’t set up your kid to lie
When you ask questions when you already know the answer to, you are giving opportunity to your kids to tell a lie.
Instead, emphasize how to fix a situation. Instead of “Did you clean your room yet?” ask “What can we do to clean this mess up?”
This helps your kid to focus on a plan of action instead of making an excuse.
Put more importance on their honesty than punishing them for being dishonest
Your kids are more courageous than you give them credit for and it is not fair for them if you just glide over that courage and punish them for not being truthful.
You should give them a chance to confess to their misdeeds. If you don’t, you run the risk of your kids being reluctant to fess up if they become dishonest in another instance.
Don’t let their fear and your anger ruin their chance to have a more straightforward relationship with you.
One of the best ways to combat this is to always offer forgiveness.
Showing a certain level of understanding for their actions can become a reward for them if they tell the truth.
However, they need to be taught that their actions will always have consequences, including you losing your trust in them, and that it’s always better to just be honest the first time around.
Set an example by becoming a model of honesty
Children normally imitate what they see from their parents, regardless of it being right or wrong so always be an example for them by practicing honesty yourself.
Understand that if you lie to them because you feel that the truth is embarrassing, then there is no way for you to expect them to be honest with you.
Be the standard of honest behavior in the household, and encourage truthfulness even when admitting that they made mistakes.
Make them see that you place more emphasis on honesty than on correcting dishonesty.
Read stories on honesty
What better way to teach children how to be honest than by reading them stories that stress the importance of this value?
Fun and attractive books will help children easily understand why they need to be truthful in everything they do and say.
And they have fun in the process, too.
These are the best children’s books on honesty that I swear by:
“The Berenstain Bears and the Truth” by Stan and Jan Berenstain is a classic tale of two young bears and a series of lies they told that just got bigger and bigger.
Teach your Dragon to Stop Lying is Steve Herman’s cute dragon book that will help your kids understand that lying always have consequences and why honesty is important.
After your storytelling, ask them how they feel about the story and what would they have done if they were in the same situation.
Honesty is pretty much like movement and muscles.
Everyone has the capacity to be honest. But you can’t be honest if you don’t practice it.
When children practice being honest, the stronger it becomes until it gets to be a habit.
Let your children learn how to practice honesty and do it all the time with them.
And when they learn this value, teaching them how to be responsible for their actions will come a little more easily.
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