He who permits himself to tell a lie once,
Finds it much easier to do it a second and third time,
until at length it becomes habitual.
He tells without attending to it,
and truths without the world’s believing him.
Telling the truth has been a challenge since the beginning of time, starting in the Garden of Eden. It is important for our children to be taught to tell and uphold the truth. Every one of us is faced with the opportunity to lie when faced with a consequence we may not want. So, how do we help children tell the truth, especially when they know that there will be unfavorable consequences?
- Let him/her know the truth is always the best. I have a confession to make. When I was little, I was a liar. I remember as a first grader I had fabricated so many tales I couldn’t keep them all straight! I can remember my mom confronting me and when I confessed I felt so much better. I tried not to lie from that day forward because I never wanted to be known as a liar.
- Provide your child with an opportunity to tell the truth. Have you ever accused your child of not telling the truth only to discover you were wrong? I sure have! If you know (or think you know) they have lied, bring up the subject in a non-threatening way so that they have the opportunity to confess and correct what they have done.
- Show mercy when s/he tells the truth. Shouldn’t there be a consequence for lying? Yes, but I found that if I could extend grace to my sons, this provided an environment to admit they had lied and seek forgiveness.
- Make the punishment fit the crime. If your child lies about something and you know it could lead to bigger issues, punish them according to the offense to show them the consequences of lying. We had an incident in our home where a lie was told and the offender had to go to an adult they didn’t know and confess what they had done. I believe he never wanted to have to repeat that!
- Council and pray with your child. Get to the reason as to why they chose to lie if you are able. Pray with him/her afterwards.
- Let your child know you love them. That is so important because children feel bad in disappointing us. Let him/her know everyone makes mistakes, but being honest will build trust as lying erodes that trust.
- Give them a big hug! When a child confesses that they have lied, be quick to forgive and squeeze the stuffings out of them!
Have a great week!