Truth in your kids does not come naturally. Lying comes naturally, but telling the truth does not. It must be learned.
My cousin was one of the wisest moms I know. She had to be, to raise her bunch of fun-loving, ornery, and sin-natured kids. She had eleven of them, eight of which were boys. I did not envy her one bit!
Oh, but she was sharp, this mama. She didn’t let the busyness of life keep her from focusing on raising her kids. Every one of them contributes to society today.
Be alert for truth in your kids
There was the morning one of her sons told her his stomach was upset and he just couldn’t go to school. It seems she didn’t believe him, for he finally told her he had thrown up and she could just go check. It seems he knew his mom was good at monitoring truth in her kids. He was smart enough to dump contents into the toilet but not smart enough to stir it together.
In the bathroom, she discovered cereal and milk in the toilet. The only problem was that both items had obviously been poured into the toilet separately and were not regurgitated from said sick son.
You can imagine what happened then.
His brother said, “Tommy never got ready for school so fast in his life as he did that morning!”
This mom knew she couldn’t trust her kids to be truthful all of the time. So she checked up on them. We should do that, too.
Don’t just assume your kids are telling you the truth. You might never have lied to your father, but it doesn’t mean your kids won’t think twice about lying. Be alert so you can monitor truth in your kids.
Especially if you have a child who is a habitual liar, you need to nip it in the bud. Help him learn a better way to handle life. Talk to your child. Recognize the problem with him, and help him develop a strategy for telling truth. Scripture is full of warnings about liars, and we should help our kids do better instead of ignoring what can quickly become a habit.
How to monitor truth in your kids
- Check out what he tells you. Really. Don’t assume he’s telling the truth because he’s your kid. Go check it out every time until he tells the truth consistently!
- Set him up. Really, it’s better he learns at a young age than sitting in a cell somewhere. My niece worked in management in a restaurant. She put marked coins on tables where she suspected dishonest employees. The coins – marked with nail polish or a sharpie – were put on tables in the area a waitress was not assigned. When the coins were found in the employee’s pocket, she had proof.
- Reward honesty and discourage lying. If your child is assigned to clean a specific room, hide coins under furniture or in corners. When the child does not clean properly, he won’t find the coins and you’ll know he was negligent. If he finds the coins, he can keep them. A child cannot argue with proof.
- Celebrate milestones. Your kid won’t do it perfectly. He might lose a battle, but he can still win the war. Give credit for successes and keep cheering him on! When you have “proof” he’s been honest with you for a period of time or in a huge temptation, celebrate.
Do as you say
Finally, remember that your kids are watching. If you tell lies, then you can expect nothing better of them. By modeling lying, you are telling them it really is okay if you don’t get caught. They will know if you are not honest, and you will lose their respect. It’s important to have truth in your kids, but it’s even more important that you model truth yourself. Don’t think it doesn’t matter. It does.
Photo attribution: Pixabay. The photo used in the Pinterest pin is by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay.