I consider myself pretty lucky; outside of the occasional white lie or situations where the kids are afraid of telling us something for fear of getting in trouble, the kids are pretty honest. In fact, most of the time when I’m dealing with dishonesty, it’s coming from adults.
The kids are also pretty savvy about our rules when it comes to lying. They know that when they are honest with us, there is still a chance they will be disciplined for what they did wrong, but when they’re honest it’s so much less than when they are caught in a lie.
The hardest part about raising our kids to be honest (sometimes bluntly and painfully honest), is that they have learned that some people, including the kids they call friends aren’t all that honest. There have been more than one instance where one of our kids has learned the hard way that their peers, kids they’ve called “friends”, have been anything but a friend and lied to them.
Time after time I’ve explained that not everyone in this world is honest but those that are, will fare much better in life than those who use lying to hurt people or get what they want. It’s never been an easy conversation when I’ve had to have it with them but I hope that they come away from those experiences a little wiser than they were before and make better choices about what they share and whom they share things with.
I think that when kids are young, they don’t lie to be mean or malicious. Most times it’s fear or uncertainty that keeps kids from telling the truth but that fear and feelings of insecurity can be deflected by giving kids a nurturing environment where they feel safe to say what’s on their minds without fear of being scolded or put down. Yes, it’s hard for us, even parents, to not judge and the knee jerk reaction to scold over listen I think, is almost always there. However, if we set aside our knee jerk reactions and judgments and really listen to what our kids are saying, we’ll be sending them a MUCH bigger message and that is there is no fear in communicating honestly with each other.
What do you do to teach your kids about honesty? Have you ever had to deal with dishonest friends? I’d love to hear your stories!