Teach children not to lie

Teaching Children Not To Lie And How Not To Be Brutally Honest

There is a difference between telling truth and being brutally honest. Most kids are taught not to lie and to be truthful and honest. This is a good lesson. However, there are times kids might not be able to understand the difference between telling truth and being honest -brutally.

We don’t want kids to lie, and we don’t want them to sneak behind our back to get away with something wrongdoing. When young kids start lying and if don’t attend to it then it could become a habit. For most kids it starts with fantasy and exaggerating the stories. While telling such stories they carried away and feel kind of important. If the kid says, I went to the beach and came back yesterday with their friends and if it is not true, we adults know it is not true. Making up such things to win a friend is not good for kids. Kids lie when they are put on the spot or if they don’t want to be accountable for the mischief they have done. Sometimes kids lie when they are embarrassed in front of their friends, siblings, or family members. They might think that others will look at them as less than them and it hurts.

Sometimes kids lie because they are impulsive. Their young mind cannot differentiate and judge what they say sometimes. Such impulsive lying is due to a lack of brain development. In such cases parents need to be patient and teach them slowly not to lie.

It is always good to talk to kids about not lying and being truthful and honest.

  1. Do not lie in front of kids: As a parent if you have seen kids witnessing something you did and you want to cover it up, then don’t. Be a role model. Apologies and tell truth to your partner or family member. Kids watch your habits and behavior. When you are honest in society, kids will understand being honest is a good thing. If you care about what your child thinks of you, then be honest and truthful in your actions and habits.
  2. The consequence of lying: Teach child valuable and simple lessons. Give them time out for deliberate lying. If they tell the truth that put them in trouble, teach them it is okay to be punished. Tell them if they tell the truth consequences will be less than not telling truth. Kids don’t want to be in trouble and are more inclined to tell the truth rather than get punished. As they continue to grow, they will understand that lying will make the situation worse.
  3. Help kids to be honest: In many instances make it easy for a child to be truthful. Instead of calling the child liar, help child to be honest. If the child returns late from a friend’s house  after playing and if you are not present at the time, ask gently what time the child returned home. If you know child returned late, don’t pretend that you don’t know. Instead of cornering, tell “ I can ask your friend’s mom when you left or say we have cameras at home” When you say it gently, kids will open up to tell the truth. Telling truth means less consequences and going forward they know the benefit of being honest.
  4. Brutal honesty: There is a difference between telling truth and being brutally honest. Telling truth is about child’s actions and what they did or what they found. It also teaches them to be honest. However, there are situations where kids might think that being brutally honesty is good. They must know that sometimes when it comes to someone’s feelings their brutal honesty can have a negative impact and is not needed. For example: Talking about someone’s clothes, haircut, eyes, appearance, pets, house, opinion about gift, decoration, someone’s cooking etc. In these cases, kids need to understand that instead of saying “I don’t like it”, “it does not look good” “hair cut is ugly” “shirt is ugly” “not tasty” – teach them to be polite and say –

Instead of I don’t like it, not tasty -“it is good, I prefer little more gravy”.

Instead of hair cut is ugly instead  “hair cut looks good, try another style next time”

Instead of saying shirt is ugly kids can use the words “You look good in this shirt, blue (or whichever color ) suits you better”

Do not laugh when kids pass brutal honest comments. Your laughing will encourage them and will lead to the development of unpleasant behavior in the future. Tell kids what happens when they are brutally honest. Give examples from your experiences. Teach them it is good to be honest but not brutally honest.

5. Appreciate their honesty: Parents must make it a habit of appreciating kids efforts to tell truth. Kids mind seeks appreciation, and it is an encouragement. Praise kids when they are honest and tell truth. If your child’s  grade is not good and he or she is honest with you, appreciate it. Tell child that you will help (child) to improve grade. Do not punish for not getting good grade, instead focus on why grade is less and how you can help. This gives builds confidence in children, and they will develop a habit of not lying even in the classroom or outside when they interact with others. Appreciating children when they are honest especially when it is tough for them to tell the truth will help them to build good behavior.

It is parents’ responsibility to teach kids how to be honest and tell the truth. This is the foundation that builds their character.

Image credit: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/590057 (CC by 0)

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: February 11, 2023

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