How to Encourage Honesty
Praise honesty & reward the truth
As parents, we are often quick to scold. Sometimes we aren’t always so quick to praise. Reward honesty with praise and hugs, thank them for being honest. Use words such as, “I’m really glad you told me the truth. I like it when you’re honest.” It will build self-confidence and reinforce positive behavior.
Think about their point of view
Toddlers often lie because they have trouble differentiating between reality and imagination. In a toddler’s mind, when they pick up a crayon and color on your walls, they are making you a pretty picture. When in reality, they just drew all over your walls. When confronting them you have to take in their perspective, they did not know or mean any harm.
Listen more than you talk
All children want to do is make you proud and do the right thing, you’re their biggest role model and they look to you for reassurance. We all want our children to be perfect but sometimes you need to give them the freedom to make their own mistakes. They will learn from these experiences and
Always give them the option, to tell the truth.
Confront them in a calm matter
As a parent, it is your job to teach them that this lying is not acceptable, and this needs to be taught in a positive way. Instead of saying “Who colored on the wall!” when they obviously colored on the wall, say “what a nice drawing, but you are not supposed to draw on the walls. Here help me clean this up.”
Children are more likely to admit the truth when they feel they have not disappointed you and will not be judged for it.
Never call your child a liar, negative labels can harm self-esteem and lead to a negative self-image. Also, try not to bring up past occurrences “This is the third time you’ve lied about this”. You have already had a discussion about the previous lie, there is no point in bringing it up again. Live in the present and deal with the present.
Set a good example
You are their biggest role model they look to you for everything, so it only makes sense that you have to be on your best behavior too. When they see you call in sick but then go to the beach, they assume that is good behavior.
A very important character trait a person can possess is keeping and following through on their promises. This is a trait everyone can value, but unfortunately, not everyone has. Trust doesn’t come naturally it has to be earned, teach your children to be people who consider their word is gold. When they give their word, they won’t break it.
Create an open conversation
A child will feel more comfortable telling the truth if they feel comfortable with talking to you. If they feel as though they are going to be punished for what they did they will be more likely to lie.
Research has found that kids who are punished for lying are more likely to lie in the future than those kids who are guided towards the reasons why it’s important, to tell the truth. In a study involving 372 kids between 4 and 8, researchers found that kids were more likely to lie when they were threatened with being punished, and more likely to tell the truth when they thought it would make an adult happy with them. They are learning whether or not they can trust you. It takes courage and strength to tell the truth.
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