How to Teach Your Child To Be Honest

Kids are learning how to lie from an early age, but it's not as bad as you might think. In fact, there are all sorts of reasons why your child is telling lies and you shouldn't overthink about whether its good or bad.

Some Reasons Why Kids Lie:

  • Your child wants you to be happy with them. So if they’ve done something wrong, the natural response of most children is that it never happened – which leads us into our next point …

  • Kids have a hard time differentiating between what is real and imaginary. They spend so much of their day playing make-believe, it becomes very genuine for them in this age group. The shows that kids watch on TV or movies can seem like reality. So, unfortunately the stories they tell themselves are very much real also. Your child isn't trying to be sneaky by saying "I didn't do it", they simply believe that because they though it, its real.

  • Little kids have legitimate terrible memories. Many times when you ask them, "Who started this fight?" and they point at their sibling. They may honestly not remember throwing the first punch!

  • They're looking for attention. And again, that's usually a lot less scandalous than it sounds; they just want attention from the adult in the room. They'll say things like "I am sick" or "I am scared" even though they are actually fine. This is just their way of saying "pay attention to me" in the best words and ways they know how.

  • As adults, we need remember that values and moral standards are learned concepts which don't come naturally with birth; they're not trying to deceive us.

How To Handle And Prevent Lying:

Children lie for all kinds of innocent reasons, but it’s still not great. Here are some things you can do when your kid tells a big one!

  • Don’t overreact. Again, morality is a concept so outside of your toddler's understanding that it might be impossible to hold them accountable for their actions and reactions. Never call them liars! If you get angry they'll go on the defensive in order to avoid blame; keeping your responses at an appropriate level usually has a better outcome for the situation.

  • Don’t put your child in a position where they feel like their best option is to lie. Avoid asking “Who drew with permanent marker all over the wall? We all know who did it, so just skip that question altogether and get right down on what needs fixing!

  • Help your child find the words they are looking for. When your child says they are sick when really they are not, ask them "Do you really feel sick, or do you just need dad to be close?" whatever the answer is, it is fine.

  • With toddlers, respond to lies with facts instead of punishment. Point out their dirty hands after you asked them to wash up or their messy room when they said they already picked up their toys. When you simply lay out the evidence, it helps your kid start understanding right from wrong.

Give Your Child Lots of Love

When kids feel safe and believed, they’re more likely to open up and be honest with you (the parent). If you find your little ones making up big stories, take the opportunity of talking about honesty as well has why lying can be harmful. As he/she grows older in time there will come times where he understands how detrimental it is for him or her too lie.

I hope these tips help bring some light into what do during those difficult moments