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Helping a Child Learn Honesty

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I think honesty is one of the most important aspects of good character. People have better perspective on life situations if they are honest with themselves, and I don’t even need to mention why it is important to be honest with others.

To get your child to feel uncomfortable when he lies and feel “right” about telling the truth—or in other words, help him develop a conscience—here’s something you need to stick by from his earliest years.

Never accept a lie.  If your child tells you an untruth, you may agree to drop the subject, but never give him the idea that you believe what he said if you actually know it to be untrue.  (It’s not cute or permissible for him to lie, although “make believe” is a little different and before the age of four or five the child may not know the difference himself.)

If your child has actually tried to convince you of the truth of a lie, a few days or even weeks later, if you bring up the subject again, he may feel comfortable telling you the truth.  Then you can praise him and show your approval. I believe this has better results than “punishment” because when the child is “telling a story”, he may be afraid of the consequences of the truth. Punishing him for the lie confirms in his mind that there’s something important and scary about the situation.


Read more articles, stories and poems by B. Killebrew at:

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