Help Kids Find a Way, To Tell the Truth
The best way to encourage truthfulness in your child is to be a truthful person yourself. Consider this story: Carol decided to limit the number of playdates between her 3-year-old son, Chris, and his friend Paul. The boys had been fighting a lot recently, and Carol thought they should spend some time apart. So when Paul's mother called one afternoon to arrange a get-together, Carol told her that Chris was sick.
Overhearing this, her son asked, "Am I sick, Mommy? What's wrong with me?" Carol, taken aback by her son's frightened look, told him she had only said he was sick because she didn't want to hurt Paul's mother's feelings. Carol then launched into a complicated explanation of the distinctions between the various types of lies, and Chris was confused. All he understood was that fibbing is sometimes okay-and that, in fact, it's what people do.
Your child takes his cues from you, so it's important that you try to avoid any kind of deception, even a seemingly innocuous one. (Never, for instance, say something like "Let's not tell Daddy we got candy this afternoon.") Let your child hear you being truthful with other adults. Carol would have been better off saying, "This isn't a good day for a playdate. I'm concerned that the boys were fighting so much last week. I think they need a break."
Another way to promote the value of honesty: Don't overreact if your child lies to you. Instead, help her find a way to tell the truth.