Teaching Children Honesty – July 2009

What is one character trait that every employer looks for in a potential employee and every person considers when selecting a mate? Honesty.

According to Samantha Stern, training and development director at Ebenezer Child Care Centers, “Honesty is a cornerstone to our society.  As adults, we have to teach our children from an early age the importance of being honest.”

Practice What You Preach

Stern says it’s important to remember that, as a parent, you are always being watched by your children. “If your children hear you lie to others, they will think it’s acceptable to lie,” says Stern.

Think about it.  If you call in to work sick, and your children see that you are not sick, what message are you sending?  Likewise, if your children over-hear a conversation you are having with a neighbor or friend and know something you said is not the truth, what are you telling them through your actions?

Stern also says if your children ask you a question that you can’t answer for some reason, you need to be honest and tell them ‘I can’t tell you the answer right now, because you are too young or because you wouldn’t understand’ instead of lying.

“Your actions speak volumes with your children,” says Stern. “You must be a role model at all times when it comes to teaching honesty.”

Praise Honesty, Discipline Lies

Stern says children may have a tendency to lie, if they think the truth will get them into trouble.  As a parent, you need to be aware of this and teach your children that honesty is linked to trust.  If your children lie about something to stay out of trouble, and you find out they are lying, your trust in them will be reduced.  Therefore, praise children who tell the truth, even if the truth is not necessarily something that will make you happy.

Likewise, if you know your children are lying to try to get out of trouble, remind them, ‘If you are lying you, and I find out that you are lying, you will be in even more trouble.’  Your children need to know that dishonesty will not be permitted.

Ebenezer Child Care Centers, Inc. will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “Teaching Your Children the Importance of Honesty” on Tuesday, July 14, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at their Wauwatosa location in the UnitedHealth Group office building located at 10701 W. Research Drive.  Come learn more about how to teach your children the importance of honesty and enjoy dinner on us. This event, which is sponsored by Children’s Hospital’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Fund, is free and open to the public.  Registration is required.  Please call 414-643-5070 to register.  For more information visit www.ebenezerchildcare.com.