While lying is generally nothing to worry about for most children, parents and teachers can and should strive to teach honesty. In Connection Parenting [Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc., 2005], author Pam Leo reminds us that if we want our children to be honest, we must be honest. Honesty is best taught by modeling. Always tell the truth to children. Be aware of the different ways in which adults can lie to each other and avoid those scenarios in front of children.
General Questions about Trustworthiness (How would you answer these questions?)
1. How do you feel when someone tells you a lie?
2. Do you think that lying can ruin a friendship? Has that ever happened to you?
3. If you tell just one lie, does that make you a liar? How many lies do you get to tell before you are a liar?
4. Would you trust somebody who lies? Who cheats? Who steals?
5. How do you know if you can trust someone?
6. Do you consider yourself to be an honest person?
7. What does trustworthiness mean to you? What is a trustworthy person?
8. Do you consider yourself a trustworthy person? In what way are you a trustworthy person?
9. Did your parents trust you? What could you do that would make your parents stop trusting you? What would be bad about that?
10. It’s been said that cheating is just another form of lying. Do you agree?
11. Describe a time when you lied, cheated, or stole something. What happened? How did you feel? What were the consequences?
12. How can simply being honest make life a lot easier? Have you ever experienced this in your own life?
13. How important is trust in your relationships with friends and family? How would these relationships be affected if you found out someone was lying to you?
14. What does trust have to do with honesty?
Are we honest to our children?
“My son was so excited for his second birthday, but when the day rolled around I hadn’t pulled anything together to celebrate – so I told him that he had the wrong day and his birthday was actually the following week. (Yes … He believed it and it felt terrible.)
Or how about: “I took $60 from my son’s piggy bank – and when he realized it was empty, I blamed it on his sister.”
Or “I haven’t taught my kids to tell time yet … that way I can say its bedtime whenever I want.”
And some of the confessions are really just honest: “My husband is a better parent than I am. He cooks, he plays with them more, and he’s more patient. I know that if I died young, they would all grow up fine without me. I love and hate him for that.”
Every situation has its problems and no one is perfect.
Tips for encouraging honesty: Once children grow old enough to understand the difference between true and not true by encouraging and supporting them in telling the truth. Help the child avoid getting into situations where they feel they need to lie. For example, you see the child has spilled some water. You could say to him, ‘Did you spill the water?’ He might lie and say no because he thinks he’s about to get into trouble. To avoid this situation, you could just say, ‘I see there’s been an accident with the water. Let’s clean it up’.
HOW TO BE TRUSTWORTHY:
BE HONEST. . .Don’t lie, cheat, or steal.
BE RELIABLE. . . Keep your promises and follow through on your commitments.
HAVE THE COURAGE. . .to do what is right, even when it seems difficult.
BE A GOOD FRIEND. . .and don’t betray a trust.
Next week: Proudness