Let’s begin with a story. Few years ago, there was this kid who missed his art class for as long as he could before his parents were called. At first, the kid cried and told his parents that the art teacher is too rude and scolds him badly every time he draws a wrong stroke or asks someone else for help. He said it with such conviction that his parents fought with the faculty until the truth presented itself loud and clear.
When his parents questioned his dishonest behaviour, his explanation was that the teacher told him what was wrong with his drawings and he hated to be proved wrong in front of his peers. That kid today writes this article on honesty as his parents explained to him the importance of the same back then. He realised that the teacher was right all along. It was he who disregarded her suggestions at the first place and fell prey to the loop avoiding the truth till it became unavoidable.
Honesty in kids is one of the key factors of character development. Here are 7 ways to help you teach your kids to practice honesty.
Reward When They're Honest
As parents, it is intrinsic to us to scold right away. However, we aren’t often that quick with the praising part. Thus, rewarding your little one when they are honest or did an act of honesty, do not forget to reward them. It is not necessary to give materialistic rewards. In fact, you should. Stick to hugs and kisses and stories unless they did something that really deserves a big reward.
Honesty and pleasing doesn’t go hand-in-hand. Teach your child that it’s okay to be honest over trying to please with false compliments. Be honest yourself in times of crisis to model the right behaviour in front of the little one. Teach them the power and skill of practicing silence when necessary.
Bring On The Hard Truths
The right thing to do isn’t always the easiest. Standing true to one’s virtues isn’t always that easy especially when it involves the emotions of other people. However, under no circumstances should one compromise with the truth, even if it means hurting someone’s feelings who isn’t in line. For instance, if your daughter’s best friend is carrying unfair means to school that isn’t permitted. It is her responsibility to advise her the right thing to do and if that doesn’t stop her best friend, she must tell the truth to the concerned teacher.
Be A Role Model
Like you all know, children are the best mimics and they subconsciously mimic most things you do. Thus, if you model truth as a characteristic of your behaviour, teaching honesty to your child wouldn’t seem much difficult. They’ll naturally take honest character building skills from you. Tell no white lies thinking they’ll not understand because this may further confuse them and create bigger problems later.
Don't Subject Them To Frequent Tests
It is certainly tempting to test if your child is truthful enough by creating false scenarios, however, try to avoid doing such things. Reassuring your child that you trust them will be much more effective than testing them every now and then. In fact, the worst case scenario of doing so might give your child a thought that you don’t trust them and they can take it all otherwise.
Consequences Are Necessary
It’s true that we all do some sins. Not always are we truthful, neither can be children, hence the consequences. It is difficult for a child to understand the harm a lie can do when they’re young. Thus, you can step in here and design appropriate consequences when they do not stick to honesty. Make sure that the consequences aren’t too harsh but are capable enough of making them understand the value of truth. You can also go vice-versa by making lying not worth it.
Find Friends Who Are Honest
Every individual’s friend circle determines how they’ll evolve as a person. Often children do not have the necessary judgement to choose the best of friends for themselves. You may thus help here by subtly encouraging your child to be friends with kids who are honest. Appreciate your little one for keeping the right company.
Besides incorporating these tips, accept the fact that your child won’t always be honest. That’s alright. Help them correct their mistakes, guide them when necessary and let them face the natural consequences sometimes to see how the world works beyond your cushion.