To Raise Honest Kids, Follow These Tips

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Studies show an overwhelming majority of parents believe it’s important to raise honest kids. Moreover, these parents believe they have a responsibility to teach their children to value honesty and integrity.

However, teaching children to be honest can be challenging. Kids develop the cognitive ability to lie as early as age three. By age four, most kids will experiment with manipulating the truth to some degree as they learn what is and isn’t believable. As they learn what they can get away with.

Being lied to by their young children can worry many parents, but child psychologists cite lying as a normal part of a human development. That is not to say parents should ignore lying. According to the latest research, here are some tips that parents can keep in mind to encourage children to tell the truth.

Don’t threaten to punish kids for lying.

According to Ashley Merryman, co-author of NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, “constantly threatening kids with punishment

[…] encourages kids ultimately to become better liars.” When kids’ lies are met with punishment, his their goal shifts; their new aim, generally speaking, is to avoid punishment. In other words, threatening to punish a child for lying will encourage him or her to tell a more believable lie in order to be let off the hook.

Avoid setting traps, but make your kids aware you know of their misdeeds.

If a child committed a misdeed that (s)he might lie about, don’t ask your child if he or she is guilty. Instead, let your child know you know by conveying your hope that he or she will not repeat the behavior in question. No further discussion or punishment is necessary–your child will know that lying to you after the fact is futile.

Talk to your children about morals and integrity.

If your kid is occasionally dishonest, talk to her about why truth-telling is so important. Make it clear that lies affect everyone around her and will impact her personal credibility. Speak in terms that she will understand.

According to child psychologist Tom Giroux, parents can “create an atmosphere of openness and model honesty for kids.” In this way, parents can teach children why being forthcoming is advantageous.”

Let your kids know that their honesty pleases you.

Kids will be more inclined to tell the truth when they know their honesty will make their parents happy; kids have a general desire to please their parents. “It goes along with the larger picture of being approachable as a parent,” psychologist Craig Smith explains. Smith also reinforces the idea of not setting traps via threatening punishment. It’s not that parents shouldn’t convey their upset or disappointment. Rather, responding to a child’s admittance of guilt by saying, “I’m glad you told me” goes a long way.

2017-06-19T10:25:46+00:00 February 8th, 2017|0 Comments

About the Author:

David Kinnear is a Financial Professional with Wells Fargo Advisors. He was ranked among Barron’s Top Financial Advisors in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Chicago Magazine recognizes David as a Five Star Wealth Manager and frequently appears on the Magazine’s list of Top 50 Financial Advisors in Chicago. David Kinnear lives with his family in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. He and his wife, Andrea, have two sons and a wirehaired pointing griffon.

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