Most children go through a phase where they'll not only test their limits, but yours as well, in seeing how far they can go. During this phase, you may notice your child making up stories that are cute, but clearly not true. While no parent wants to put limits on their child, how do you allow your child the creative freedom to use their imagination while teaching the importance of telling the truth?
How to teach your child to tell the truth. 3 parenting tips.
1. Use stories.
Fables are good bedtime stories for your little ones because it gives them time to ruminate on the message. It also gives them quiet time to discuss the story with you.One of the best stories for teaching children the importance of telling the truth is The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It's an old Aesop fable about the little boy who told so many lies about a wolf near the village, that when the wolf really did come, no one believed. The consequence? Sheep were killed, and he felt it was all his fault. Sharing these tales with your child will help them understand the value of being truthful, and will help shape them into honest human beings.
2. Do not let lies go unpunished.
Believe it or not the first time your child lies sets the tone for the rest of their adult lives. If the child gets caught, the child is far more likely to believe they will always get caught. If the child does not get caught or suffer consequences for his or her misbehavior, the child knows there is a potential for getting away with lying. If you find your child is telling lies, let them know you know the truth and offer a consequence for their action. Explain to your child why it is important they tell the truth. For example: Let's say you ask your child to go brush his teeth before bed. If brushing his teeth is a chore he chooses to avoid, he may come back with an excuse for not having done it such as the dog scared him. If you know this is not the truth, especially if the dog has been with you the entire time, ask your child why he chose to be dishonest. Remind him that you'll love him no matter what, and tell him never to lie to you again, as it's completely unnecessary and unappreciated.
3. Maintain an open, healthy dialog with your child.
Children often opt to not tell the truth out of fear of how you'll react. If you provide a safe space for your child to speak to you without judgment or harsh criticism, they'll learn to trust you with anything they have to say, good or bad.