OOh, boy, I feel a devils advocate coming on…
There are few things that make my head spin on it’s axis as much as coming face to face with a bold-faced liar. On the other hand, tattle-tellers also pretty much send me over the edge.
I often come face to face with this problem when I have to explain to my kids when fudging the truth is ok and when it isn’t. And then, of course, there is the sin of omission…which is sometimes the blessing of omission.
Do you have a headache yet?
Deciding when to tell the truth is hard enough for an adult, but how do you pass this information on to young children?
1. Give your kids kudos when they are honest–no kid is every going to admit that they did something wrong if they think they will get bawled out immediately thereafter. So, when your kidlet tells you that they accidentally broke one of your favorite objet d’art, try not to go immediately for the jugular.
2. Explain the difference between tattling and being honest–i.e. it’s not a good idea to tell on your friend/classmate/sibling when they’ve messed up in some way that is neither dangerous nor particularly harmful. Nobody wants to play with the kid who is constantly reveling in moral superiority.
3. This one is particularly tricky, but try to explain that white lies are sometimes ok if they spare someone’s feelings. “If your best friend just got a haircut that makes them look silly, but there is clearly nothing they can do about it, don’t tell them that they look awful.”
4. Try to find examples in the media of good Samaritans who have been rewarded for being honest. These examples are often hard to come by, but everyone knows at least one story of someone who returned a wallet or a purse and was monetarily rewarded for doing the right thing.
5. Most importantly, don’t be a liar yourself :p
How do you teach your kids to tell the truth?
I am currently working with Kiddie Academy to get the word out about their education-based childcare. Their proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum, supporting programs, methods, activities and techniques help prepare children for life. Visit the KA Family Essentials blog for more.