Raising children is not for the faint of heart. Suhre Law in Columbus knows it takes a lot of love and effort to help your child grow into the loving, responsible and moral adult they are destined to be.
These five ways to instill a sense of honesty in your child will help them develop the moral character that will help them through life.
1. Lead by Example
The saying, “Do as I say, not as I do,” does not really work when it comes to raising children. They learn by example and all the admonitions to be honest will have little effect if you model a dishonest lifestyle. Your children will learn from your mistakes, as well, so if you have an opportunity to make things right after you have been dishonest, use it as a lesson to your children by either allowing them to witness the events or by sitting down and explaining things from your point of view. Letting me them know your thought process will help them make the right decision on their own in the future.
2. Let Children Experience the Consequences of Lying
One of the most important ways you can teach your children to be honest is to allow them to experience what happens when they are not. Real world consequences of dishonesty might include a future lack of trust, loss of responsibilities or, in serious circumstances, even loss of relationships. If the dishonesty was toward you, try to think up a consequence that matches the wrongdoing, like not being able to go out with friends if they lied to you the last time they went out.
3. Do Not Shield Them from Consequences
In addition to meting out fair and reasonable consequences, make sure you are not shielding them from the consequences their dishonesty might warrant from others. If they lie at school, allow the school to implement their standard consequences. If, for example, they damage a neighbor’s property and lie to cover it up, allow the neighbor to come up with a consequence, such as working to pay off the damage. When your child grows up and enters the world of adults, no one will be there to shield them from the consequences of dishonesty, so let them learn now.
4. Reward Honesty
One of the most difficult experiences for a child is to ignore their natural inclinations to cover up a mistake and instead be honest and face the consequences. Sometimes, the character growth they experience by making the right choice is lesson enough. Reward your child’s honesty with praise and, if appropriate, by eliminating the consequences for the wrong they are confessing to. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator.
5. Teach them to Avoid Lying
In our society, little white lies are often considered acceptable. “No, you do not look fat in that dress,” may be meant well, but if it is not true, our children learn to lie. Help your child learn ways to avoid lying by changing the subject or finding something positive and true to say about a topic, such as, “That dress really brings out the blue in your eyes.” When lying is never acceptable, telling the truth becomes habit.
Honesty is one of the most important character traits you should help your children develop. It leads to learning and accepting greater responsibility for their actions and helps them to learn that some things are sacred, no matter what goes on in society, work or home. When you teach your child to be honest, you set them up for successes and close bonds in life, rather than distance and distrust.
Guest post written by Karleia, a freelance blogger. Away from the office she enjoys spending time with her two daughters.
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