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Tips for Teaching Honesty to Young Children

Want to hear a secret? Most kids lie. This is the truth that many parents will have to face when their babies begin to develop into talking, walking, and interactive children. The practice of telling lies develops very early, around two years old. This isn't something to worry about too much; it's simply a natural stage of development. So, how can you help your child move past this stage and learn the importance of honesty?

Understand Their Developmental Stage

Telling lies is a normal part of their growing-up process. Understandably, being lied to, especially by your children, can be a little off-putting. Therefore, the best way to begin teaching them the importance of honesty is to understand their developmental stage. Children don't comprehend lying and its consequences, so parents need to have a conversation with them. According to JD & Co, simple questions can help adults identify whether or not their children understand the concept of what it means to be honest. Issues such as differentiating between imagination and reality can help develop the first set of questions. Another thing to look out for is fear. Clearly stating that you will always hear them out before judging or getting angry can be a great bridge to build with them early on.

Model Honest Behavior

Words are useless if they're not followed by action, so it's vital that parents not only pay attention to what their children are doing but what they are doing themselves. Motherly says that if you don't want your child to lie, you shouldn't lie. One of the most common lies that parents tell children is that they don't have money to buy them that ice cream cone. You will no doubt be caught in a lie the minute you go purchasing groceries or take out money from the ATM. The best way to go about this is to simply say that you already have ice cream at home if that is true. That allows you to say no to their request and remain honest.

Don't Set Them Up

One of the most common mistakes parents make when attempting to teach their children not to lie is to set them up to prove a point. This is entirely wrong as not only are you creating a problem, but you may also be setting up the opportunity for them to lie. If you do catch them in a possible scenario to lie, such as when they've made a mess, it is best to simply make them clean it without blaming or asking them about it. This will allow them to understand that anything they do wrong will have negative consequences. 

Listening to your child lie for the first time can cause some concern. However, it is important to understand that they are not doing it to hurt you. Honesty can be implemented with the right steps. Simply adhere to the list above to begin developing your own honesty teachings.

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