Talk to your children about what it means to be honest and why honesty is an important value. You can also encourage honesty by building trusting relationships with your children and helping them to develop self-awareness.
What needs to be done?
Discuss the importance of being able to trust one another. Acknowledge that telling the truth may seem difficult sometimes. Sometimes, we may not even notice when we are lying. While you should emphasize with your child that lying is wrong, it’s also important to note that occasionally there are good reasons to lie or to not tell the entire truth and provide specific examples. If your child is given a gift that he/she does not really like, you might say to your child that it is better to say you like the gift and express thanks rather than reveal your true feelings.
Pay close attention to whether you are modeling honesty and integrity in your day to day interactions. Notices when your actions don’t align with the messages you’re sending. Nobody is perfect all the time. Acknowledge these moments and use them to model honesty and self-awareness.
Being honest sometimes takes a lot of courage. If a child tells a harmful lie, it’s important to remind them that it is wrong to lie and why it is wrong, but it’s also important to thank your child for their honesty and willingness to share. Let your child know that you are proud of their honesty.
What are the ways to show your honesty to your child?
- Think before you speak.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- Bend over backward to communicate in an open and honest fashion.
- Simplify your statements so that everyone clearly understands your message.
- Tell it like it is rather than sugarcoating it.
- Present both sides of each issue to engender objectivity.
- If you have a personal bias or a conflict of interest, make it known.
- Tell people the rationale behind your decisions so that your intent is understood.
- If something is misinterpreted, quickly correct the record.
- Don’t shoot the messenger when someone tells you the truth. Thank them for their honesty and treat the information provided as a gift.
- Willingly accept responsibility by admitting a mistake or an error in judgment–in a timely fashion.
- Hold people accountable when their words do not match their actions.
- Never compromise your integrity and reputation by associating yourself with people whose standards of integrity you mistrust