Encourage Good Values Every Day
Set clear expectations
Young children like to know what to expect. Make honesty a household rule. Explain what will happen if this rule is broken.
Model honest behavior at home
For example, try to:
- keep promises that you make
- avoid “white lies” – these can confuse children
- apologize for your own lies or mistakes
Find teachable moments
For example, read books that show the importance of honesty, respect and trust. This helps your child learn values in a calm, positive way.
Praise good behavior
Give your child a hug and some warm words for being honest and responsible.
More Tips for Building Honesty
Avoid labeling your child
Children who are told they are “bad” or “liars” may begin to believe it and act accordingly. Remember, the behavior is bad, but not the child.
Don’t ask questions that invite lies
If your child has clearly done something wrong, avoid yes or no questions. For example, say “I see you ate your sister’s candy,” instead of “Did you eat the candy?” The explain why taking it is wrong.
Is your child under too much pressure?
Parents may accidentally encourage dishonesty by:
- setting expectations or standards too high
- having very strict rules or punishments
Children under a lot of stress may lie to avoid disappointing or upsetting their parents. Let your child know that he or she can talk to you about anything!