Honesty is the best policy!
Today I have a guest post from the childcare experts at Kiddie Academy to talk about something we probably don’t talk about enough: telling the truth.
Honesty is one of those intangible character traits that comes naturally to some kids, but must be taught to most—with lots of reminders, examples and, sometimes, slip-ups along the way. Here are some concrete ways to promote honesty among your children.
Praise your kids when they are brave enough to be honest. It’s not easy for kids to admit they’ve done something wrong. But how you respond may make it much easier—or difficult—the next time around. Imagine how your child would feel if she gathered all the courage she could muster to tell you she broke your favorite lamp in the living room only to have you yell at her in response. Chances are she’d be a lot less likely to admit the next time she did something wrong. On the flip side, if you acknowledge that telling the truth is hard and praise her honesty, she’s more apt to choose that route next time.
Teach the difference between tattling and being honest. It’s not unusual for very young children to revel in telling the truth—especially when it involves “tattling” on one of their peers. You can even hear the sense of moral superiority in their voices when they let you know that Susie spilled the paint on the rug. To temper the tattling, explain that only when another child does something dangerous or harmful, like starting a fire or hurting someone, do you need to tell an adult about it. Otherwise, tell your child that she should let the person responsible for the action let an adult know about it.
Look for examples of honesty to share with your child. While media coverage tends to highlight the wrongdoing taking place in society, occasionally stories surface about good Samaritans whose honest acts help produce positive outcomes, such as returning a wallet full of money to its rightful owner or reporting on the whereabouts of a wanted criminal. When you come across these positive examples of good citizenship, share them with your child as something to aspire to.
Be a good example. There’s nothing more crushing to a child than to learn that his parents don’t practice what they preach—especially when it comes to a value as rudimentary as honesty. Even getting caught in a “little white lie” by your child can cause his trust in you to crumble. Plus, he’s likely to think that if it’s okay for you to lie, it’s okay for him to do it too.
Please leave me a comment: how do you raise your kids to be honest? Is telling that little white lie OK in your family? I’d love to hear your opinion!
This article was provided and sponsored by Kiddie Academy®. The company has been a leader in education-based childcare for 30 years serving families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs. You can visit the KA Family Essentials blog and LIKE them on FB for additional information.