William Shakespeare already said it: ‘No legacy is as rich as honesty’. This phrase is totally true and parents should know it in order to raise children who are not only honest, but also successful people in the future. The most powerful way to teach children honesty is through daily example, with the lessons that life throws at us.
Honesty is very important for relationships, emotional and social development, and life in general. Adults have an obligation to teach it whenever necessary. We cannot protect them if we do not know what is happening, we cannot guide them if what they tell us is not true. Children can’t learn lessons from poor decisions or life’s mishaps if they can’t talk about what happened or lie about it.
If your children are lying, you should take a deep breath and not worry, sometimes it’s normal. Children follow a universal pattern for lying that begins to manifest around the age of three. Lying is an easy task, for them to be able to lie they must imagine a reality different from the one that has happened. But they do not usually sustain a lie well over time because it is difficult to remember everything and it is easy to catch them. If you discover that your child is lying, do not be alarmed or angry, just guide him along the way.
How to build honesty in children
Listen more than you talk
All children want to do the right thing, but sometimes they need the freedom to make their own mistakes. Make sure the children can explore the world freely. Explore what they have learned or what they could do differently the next time after they have made a mistake. You don’t have to fix everything, they don’t either… but they do need to learn about it.
Reward the truth
Remorse before lying exists and usually always happens In the kids. It is not necessary that there are consequences for lying, but there are rewards for honesty -such as praise-. In this way, instead of negatively reinforcing the lie, you will be positively reinforcing the truth, and it is much more effective.
We all make mistakes
No matter what Whatever happens, remember that we all make mistakes. The dumbest decisions happen, those that are not thought through or that are impulsive. On many occasions, the fact itself is not important -what has happened-, but that the problem lies in having lied about it, and that is what must be guided and emphasized.
Manage the truth
Sometimes we want to be told the truth but we really don’t want to know. It is important that for children to trust us and know that telling the truth is more important than lying, you must learn to handle the truth, whatever it may be. This means that if in the end you have been honest with you but you don’t like what happened you can say something like: ‘It must have been very difficult for you to tell me this. It means a lot to me that you had the strength and courage to do it.’
Have fewer but effective rules
Children are more likely to lie if they think the rules are unfair or unnecessary. Instead, children will obey rules more and better if they believe they are fair and within their control. They usually heed rules around their health and well-being. When it comes to areas like personal tastes, it is necessary to allow them some control and freedom to make their decisions. You will be surprised when you reduce the rules at home, how the lies will also decrease.
Remember that it is also important: do not punish them for lying, do not threaten them to tell the truth, be open to effective communication and to negotiate with them… having a little conflict at home is normal.