Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Raising Honest Children

I know it will be hard to believe, based on the sweet and innocent picture here of our 2 1/2 year old.....

But our son is a liar.

And a BAD one!!

I am not talking about the kind of lies that show he has an active imagination...like a little girl at our daycare who said she stole honey from a bear and the bear followed her to daycare that day.

That is cute, active play.

I am talking about the kind of lies that you wonder where they came from. How did he learn to respond that way without hesitation?!

I would like to believe that we are modeling honesty in our home and that this is some trait he was born with....

Here is an example of how this behavior has been presenting itself with Elijah.

Yesterday I gave the kids each a cupcake as a snack. No frosting...just a plain cupcake. Gabriel ate his over the garbage can so as not to spill all over the floor. I watched him do it.  I put Elijah in his chair at the table, gave him his cupcake and then went off to do something else. (Mistake on my part!!)

He knows that he isn't supposed to eat food away from the table, but a little while later I notice that there are cupcake crumbs all over the floor in the living room.

So I ask Elijah who made the mess and without even taking a moment to think about it he says "Gabriel!"  Gabriel is sitting at the table doing his homework. So I ask Elijah again and he gives me the same response. I ask Gabriel - did you make this mess and he says "No mom!" (And I know he didn't) Asking Elijah a third time after he has heard Gabriel's response and telling him that he needs to tell mama the truth he says, and with conviction I might add, "GABRIEL"!

Oh what's a mama to do?!

Later that evening I find an empty wrapper on the floor and ask again who's it is...knowing full well it was Elijah's and he says "Karlena's".

We have a problem on our hands here folks!!

So I started thinking about how we as parents can raise honest kids...

I think it starts first by modeling the behavior ourselves to our kids. Making sure that the things that Dominic and I say are a good example of honesty. And I think that for the most part I can say we do a good job at this.

It is tough, when you have a child that is so young, to help them understand what being honest is all about.  I tried talking with Elijah a little about how God wants us to tell the truth and when we don't it makes God sad. I asked him if he wanted God to be sad, and in another proud parenting moment he said "Yes!" (Shaking my head....)

But I think that just like teaching them to share their toys, or using their hands for hugs and waves and NOT hitting....teaching them about honesty will just be another thing that we will have to be looking for those moments like I had last night to reinforce the positive behavior. At some point he will get it.

But now I want to hear from you!! What has worked with your children?  I don't know that punishments/time outs etc are going to be a positive reinforcement and make the point I want to make. But maybe you have a different experience? I'd love to hear about it!!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Hi, I'm Kim. I just found your blog threw Laurens blog. Your family is precious!! I'm a new follower. :)
How old is Gabriel? He sounds similure to what my 3 1/2 yr old is going threw. Hunter (my son) has told a many fibs as well, I've tried talking to him about this but it doesn't seem to help him tell the truth. Whenever u find an answer, let me know. I believe it maybe a phase tho, but your so right, we need to start setting a good example for our children early so they'll learn to be honest in the future. :)



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