How to Encourage Honesty in Children

According to child psychologists, it is normal for children to experiment with lying. Lying is part of children’s emotional and intellectual development. It helps children to depict their own feelings, thoughts and desires, and those of others. Kids start to lie at an early age, sometimes as early as three. Because young children enjoy hearing stories, they make up tell tales and stories of their own. It is young children’s imagination at work and should not be treated as lies. For older children or teens however, it is different. They lie to cover something up to avoid punishment, to deny responsibility for their actions, to avoid stressful situations or to impress others (their parents most especially).

Hearing your children lie makes you angry and felt betrayed. Although lying is not good, it’s not a crime either so instead of getting angry, be more positive. Focus on building trust and let your children realize the value of telling the truth.

encourage honesty

Remember that punishing your children for telling lies
will just make them afraid to come up with the truth.

Below are some tips to encourage honesty in children.

Avoid dragging children into situations where they need to lie. When you know that they did something wrong, don’t ask them if they did that. You will always get no for an answer because they know they are in trouble. Instead, let them know you are aware of what happened and that you are willing to talk about it.

Praise your children to boost their self-esteem. Sometimes children think they are not good enough. They lie to make themselves look better and get respect from others. Children who possess self esteem feel strong and secure. They don’t need to lie because they can admit when they are wrong.

Respect your children’s privacy.  Children need more privacy as they grow older. When your teenagers don’t want to share with you, snooping or wading on their personal belongings would make them want more to hide things from you because they feel you are controlling them. Wanting more time alone doesn’t necessarily mean your child has something to hide. It is natural part of adolescence.

Praise the truth. When you know your children are telling the truth, praise them for doing so. This will encourage them to own up to doing something wrong instead of lying or blaming others.

Be truthful yourself. As the saying goes, children do what adults do. This is true with lying. Children who are used to hearing lies are more likely to tell lies themselves. Don’t lie just to be polite. You can always say the truth in a nice way most especially in front of your children.

Remember that constant punishing your children for telling lies will just make them afraid to coming up with the truth. Encourage honesty in children by instilling the value of being truthful instead of punishing them and constantly telling that lying is bad.

Image Credit:
David Castillo Dominici – FreeDigitalPhotos.Net


  1. Raven Jack says:

    Nice, Awesome and very informative keep writing such an article, happy to read.

  2. These are very sound advice tokaya!

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