Title: Raising Honest Kids
I remember the first time my oldest daughter lied to me. I don’t remember exactly what it was about, but I remember she took something she wasn’t supposed to and I knew she did it. Like every parent, I wanted to test her to see if she would tell the truth. I was convinced that my precious daughter would be up to the challenge and would easily tell the truth. I asked her if she took it and then it happened…she lied…right to my face! I was so disappointed in her, but I also took it personally. What kind of horrible parent am I if my child is lying to me? After thinking I was worst parent ever, I began trying to understand that kids push the envelope in a lot of things, including telling the truth. This is something that all kids (and adults) struggle with. The reason that we struggle with it is because many times it is easier (in the moment) to tell a lie than to tell the truth. In many of these instances, telling the truth bears a negative consequence, but lying has a chance that these consequences won’t happen. Here lies the tough question… How do we help our children understand the tension between the benefit and difficulty of honesty?
Let’s look and see what the Scriptures say this about honesty…
The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.
Honesty keeps us on track where lies lead to trouble. It’s important that our kids know we want them to live an honest life not just tell truth when we ask them if they brushed their teeth. Telling the truth in small things leads to being truthful in big things…in life.
Here are a few tips that I found to help raise honest kids…
Challenge lies and reward and praise all honesty.
Don’t let little lies slip. Challenge your kids when you catch that they are not being truth tellers. We know it’s easy to let those things go and hope kids get better, but honesty is a learned habit. While you challenge lies make sure and praise honesty. If your child admits to a lie, give grace; forgive, then course correct. Honesty should be rewarded.
Kids need to see you be a truth teller. Work hard to show them what honesty looks like as you interact with your family. When you mess up, tell the truth and apologize. When you make commitments to other people follow through. When it would be easy to lie find a way to tell the truth in love. Model what you want from your kids.
Watch for bad influences.
Your kids’ friends have a deep influence on them. Your kid’s social media access also has a big influence on them. Be present enough to know the people around your kids and to be able to call out dishonest influences. When kids get around people who are dishonest many times they pick up the habit. Keep a steady eye on who is influencing your child.
I hope these tips help and I will be praying for you as you invest in your child this month. If there are any future parenting topics that you would like to see addressed, please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Your partner in ministry,
Family Life Pastor