Did you know that the biggest reason adults lie is because as a child they were unable to communicate with their parents or guardians? As children, these lying adults were unable to freely express who they were without fear of judgment or punishment.
Most adult liars were children raised to perform to a particular parents standards, and as a result they have had trouble coming in to who they are. They grew up in a home where free thinking was frowned upon.
Growing up in such an environment, the child felt a need to lie to keep a parent happy. And because the child feared disappointment or disapproval from his/her parents, the child then began a pattern of lying that would take years to correct, if ever.
To raise a truth-seeking honest child:
Be honest with your child, and yourself – Children learn what they live. If we expect them to be honest, we must be honest. If a child sees a parent lying that child will not only lose respect, but pick up on the habit. He/she will think “Hey, they got away with it and it made their life easier. It will work for me too!”
Respect who your child is – As parents we have ideas in our mind as to who our kids will be. Sometimes, we live vicariously through them. It is important that we respect who our children are. Perhaps they don’t want to be on the state championship bound football team. Or perhaps they have decided to pursue another form of religion. Whatever it may be; by not respecting their thoughts and feelings, it teaches them to hide it from you in fear of disapproval.
Respect the truth – It takes a lot of courage for children (in some instances) to tell the truth on certain topics. When they do tell the truth, instead of lashing out on them we should show respect for that truth. By lashing out, they learn to close up more and say less.
Speak the truth – By speaking the truth ourselves and standing up for what we feel is right, our children will naturally begin to as well. If they watch us cower in the corner with every confrontation life brings, and if they watch us being used as doormats for other people then they lose respect.
Live the truth – We can tell our children what is right, but if we aren’t living a just life they will see through the charade. We must be honest in all areas of our life if we expect our children to be.
Promote the truth – We have a rule in our home that the truth bears no punishment. It isn’t to say that there will be no consequences or repercussions, however they will not be punished for being honest.
Encourage passion – Find something that your child is passionate about where he/she learns to use their voice. Whether it be speaking on animal rights, citizens rights, or student council encourage him/her to be passionate about what they think or feel. Our best leaders in this world were once taught to be passionate, and to find their voice. When they found that voice, they used it. And because of that, they changed the world.
Do Not React – When your child is sharing something about his or her peers do not allow them to see your reaction, shock, or anger as to what they are saying. Do not force them to stop talking to people who make bad decisions. Instead teach them how to make their own good decisions regardless of their company. Reacting will only shut them down and prevent you from knowing what is going on with their friends in the future.
The biggest thing that I have seen with children who lie regularly to their parents is that their parents are really overbearing. Especially those who only have one child and nothing to compare it to. They have a hard time accepting that their child is not them, and that they are their own person.
We can either adopt these items listed above or have a dishonest and unruly teenager when that time comes. And as for me and my house, we will continue to promote honesty and free thinking. So far, so good here!