Teaching Children Honesty

Honesty is a virtue that can be taught to children. Teaching the value of honesty forms a part of the development of a child’s moral and emotional strength. The quality of honesty helps the child to develop strong character and solid self-esteem.

It is important to teach honesty to the child, the way the child would understand it. For instance honesty can be taught by example. This is a do-as-I-do not just what I say kind of example. It’s important that authorities in the life of a child are honest with children at their level of understanding.

These are some ideas with which to teach a child honesty:

Do not shame your child. Use a no-shaming tactic when children stumble. Children will be more likely to revert to dishonest behaviors if they fear being shamed. Approval is a strong motivator. Non shaming disapproval can help to teach, but shame dissolves strength of character, and tends to elicit the behaviors you want to extinguish.

It’s best to respond rather than overreact when children lie or vacillate. It is natural for children to test you. Your response will teach them to be honest, or to hide. Do not demand (or expect) perfection. Ensure consequences for transgressions equals the “crime,” and always as consistent as possible. Short consequences work best. If dishonesty has become chronic at any age, consider the underlying root causes. The child may be acting out something

that is troubling him. Pray for the child, talk to your Pastor appropriately

Teach honesty to your child from childhood up till adolescence. Using words that the child can understand, explain what honesty means by using Biblical examples to communicate to the child. Explain what honesty means in your family. Then continue through repetitions, to remind the child:
“This is the way we do things in our family.”
”Jesus is truth and reality.”
“We tell the truth.”
“We do not take what doesn’t belong to us.”
“If we have done something dishonest, we own up to it.”
“We tell the truth even when it is hard to do so.”
“When you tell the truth God honors and blesses you, people will respect you, and you will feel confident about yourself.”
“I might not like what you have to tell me, and there might be a consequence, but I will respect you for telling the truth.”


1.Always Reward Truth
As parents we are often quick to scold. Sometimes we aren’t always so quick to praise. Reward honesty with lots of praise and hugs. It will build self-confidence and reinforce the positive behaviour. Inclusively, a child can never get too much love.

2.The Art of talking right
The brutal truth should not always be spoken. Making hurtful comments to or about people must be discouraged by parents. We have all heard the saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say,

don’t say anything at all.” One needs not lie. Just don’t say anything. As Pastor Chris would say,” Find something nice to say about that person that is positive”. Love speaks ill of no one. When we practise this, our children will learn that it’s a wonderful tool to learn.

3.The Hard Truth
Correct morals and purity of spirit may sometimes trump protecting the feelings of someone who is doing wrong. Wrong is always wrong. For instance, your son’s best friend is cheating on school assignments and your son is fully aware. He has a duty to go to his friend and advise him to quit. He’s hurting himself and cheating the others who have honestly prepared their assignments. If he refuses, then your son would have to tell the teacher about what is going on. That is called the hard truth. Nobody wants to be put in that position. Yet in life one can find the selves in these types of situations. Teach your children to stand strong on the side of righteousness.

4.The Minnie you
As is always the case, you are your child’s hero, first influence, the role model. You do not want your child to hear you telling a lie. To see you perform a dishonest act. Yes, you could park your car for free since there is no attendant. But the sign says $15 dollars. Put your money in the slot and move along. Don’t let your children hear you tell fibs or lies to someone else, while you are teaching them to be honest. Those little eyes are always watching and their little ears are always listening

5.Do not mislead your child as a witness

Though it’s tempting to test them, try to avoid asking questions that give your child an opportunity to not be honest. You saw your daughter spill red juice on the couch. No need to ask, “Did you just spill your juice on the couch?” This leads her to believe she might have a way out and could possibly pass blame elsewhere. Just tell her to clean it up. She’ll have enough opportunities to tell the truth. Teach your child to always take the high road.

6.Truth also has Consequences
When kids lie, it is because of fear or selfishness. Pastor Chris says,” The reason why people lie is because they are afraid, selfish or trying to paint a picture of themselves of what they are not.” Teach your child through God’s Word that truth, honesty and sincerity are great values to cultivate. In life’s situations sometimes being truthful, sincere and honest may have their own consequences and we must always stand for the truth of God’s Word. Show our kids examples in the scriptures of people like Joseph, David, Daniel and Esther who stood on the righteous side of God and what their outcomes were.

7.Those who care teach
Catching your child being dishonest is a good time to teach life’s lessons in honesty through the scriptures. Take your child on a journey in the life of a Bible character and help him correct the mistake. Talk to him or her about how he or she could have responded or reacted differently.

8.The Word of God and your Word is as good as Gold
God prices his word above all things. Jesus taught us the value of not just keeping His word but doing His word. Jesus is emphatic

about us doing “God’s things God’s way” (Pastor Chris) in Matthew 7:24-29 KJV

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

The Bible says in Hebrews 6:18-19 TLB
“He has given us both his promise and his oath, two things we can completely count on, for it is impossible for God to tell a lie. Now all those who flee to him to save them can take new courage when they hear such assurances from God; now they can know without doubt that he will give them the salvation he has promised them.
This certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven…”

Through the scriptures we can show our children the value of honesty and sincerity. God does not break His word. His word is faultless and infallible and so should our words.

See Hebrews 6:18-19 MSG:

“God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.
We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God.”

The most important thing about a man’s life is his character and the character of His Words. The quality of a man’s life is largely dependent upon the quality of his spirit. Only the word of God can transform and produce perfection in a man’s mind to the extent that it would be obvious for all to see this excellence in his character and personality.

Paul says in Romans 12:2
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Part of an excellent character trait in a person includes the integrity of keeping and following through on your word or promises made. This one thing alone will clearly define the character of your child as an individual. To be trusted and deemed honorable is what the word of God wants us to be…..like Him.

“A Fool’s gold is easily found”. The real thing requires a lot of digging. Gold is highly sought after and is extremely valuable. Just the kind of person we want our children to be.

9.Be content with what you have
Hebrews 13:5
“Let your conversation be without covetousness: and be content with such things as ye have…”
Possessions can create all sorts of problems. The best policy is to teach a child early that he or she must be content with what they have. What other people have does not belong to them. It is inappropriate to borrow something and never return it.

It’s awesome to share, but the item must always be returned. There are kids who borrow things from their friends and never give it back. Instead teach your child to be a giver and not a borrower. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”. God said tothe Israelites in Deuteronomy 15:6
“For the Lord your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lendto many nations but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over.”

It might sound harmless, but honesty is a virtue and not a fad. Value and be content with your own possessions and keep your hands off your neighbors.

10.Choosing honest friends
“Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are and show you your future”. You can tell a child’s future from the company of people he keeps . If your child’s friends lie and cheat, so will they. But if your child’s friends are upstanding and honest, your son or daughter will be that much better off. Monitor and audit your child’s friendships and company, so that you can ensure they turn out well at their latter end.

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