Teaching Children to Be Honest

Honesty is one of the most important attributes that a person can have. Honesty is an important factor in making and maintaining friendships, and is the only way to gain the trust of others. A person with this attribute also understands the importance of not cheating, lying, stealing, or otherwise taking unethical actions.

Of course, honesty isn’t always an intuitive characteristic, and children often learn this concept through instruction from parents. And if you are looking for new ways to help keep your kids honest, try these ideas with your little ones this year.

Pick Up a Book and Read

Reading books for children is one of the easiest ways to teach your children about honesty. Children’s books often contain main characters who are faced with moral dilemmas, and who must make honest decisions no matter the circumstances. And nearly every time, while the honest choice in the children’s book may not have been the easiest, it leads to the best outcome in the future. Witnessing these honest actions and their positive results when reading books can help instill in your children a desire to act in an ethical fashion.

Ask Questions

Because children often have limited interactions with others, they may not understand the consequences of their actions. And more specifically, they may very well not know what it feels like to be on the end of a dishonest action. If your child makes a dishonest action, ask them how it would make them feel if the roles were reversed; this may help them understand the consequences of their choices. And even if your child hasn’t been dishonest, asking these questions can be an excellent preventative measure.

Reward Honesty

You don’t need to offer a reward to your kids each time they say a true statement. You may, however, wish to reward them with something nice for the times that they are honest in the face of consequences. Telling the truth when it is not easy is a difficult concept for children to learn. Consequently, reinforcing those actions can help ensure that your kids make the right decision each and every time.

Reprimand Dishonesty

On the other hand, if your children can tell lies or take other dishonest actions without any repercussions, they may do so readily. If you catch your kids being dishonest, make sure there are consequences, such as no time watching TV or an early bedtime. If there are reasonable consequences for dishonest actions, your kids will be more likely to tell the truth as often as possible.

Lead By Example

One of the easiest ways to teach your kids to be honest is by showing them the way. Taking honest actions yourself will reinforce the importance in the minds of your children, since they inevitably see you as their most influential role models. Make sure to make honest actions as often as possible, and your kids are sure to follow suit.

It may not be easy to teach honesty, but it is certainly necessary. Try these few steps this year to raise honest children in your home.


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