How to Instill the Value of Honesty in Your Child

How to Instill the Value of Honesty in Your Child
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Most of us know the importance of being able to trust someone. The passage of time has shown us how to appreciate the precious value of honesty that we should instill and encourage in our children.

Honesty is a virtue that is easily learnt if practiced every day. Yet in addition to learning and practicing honesty, parents must also cultivate it when raising their children. Parents should cultivate honesty with the same dedication that a gardener does when taking care of the most beautiful rose in his garden.

If we take care of this rose or diamond properly, then the value of honesty will always stand out among the many lies that plague our lives in an all too natural way.

Why does your little angel start lying?

When children start talking they simply cannot say anything but the truth. They are always honest. For this reason we should try to instill and cultivate this virtue in them.

Yet for many reasons, these little angels who only know how to tell the truth begin to be dishonest. One of the main reasons is probably because they learn that telling lies helps them avoid certain consequences of their actions.

They also begin to lie in order to gain favor from others or they discover that lying is the way to obtain the reward they want…

The truth is there is an abundance of reasons…  However, while evaluating these reasons it is easy to notice that in most cases, children learn to be dishonest from what they observe from others, especially adults.

Before censoring or punishing them, it is necessary that we take a good look at ourselves in order to know if there are some things we can change in our own behavior.

Cultivate honesty in your child’s heart

It is very difficult to have our children grow up in a glass box in order to keep them pure and innocent just like they were born. Sometimes they don’t pick up the habit of lying at home but rather at school. Beyond punishment, your child needs to be taught the importance of honesty.

In other words, more important than reprisals is teaching them to value the truth. It is also important to reflect on the fact that a dishonest child does not trust others, and this lack of trust is the worst feeling a child can have towards the education model a parent or a teacher is trying to create.

Speaking about honesty is very important the moment you begin to detect that your child is lying. This early start gives you time to correct the problem that dishonesty poses.

Whatever the circumstance may be, try to begin to talk to your child about the issue. Explain to them that their problems can always be solved in a better way if they are honest.

Honesty is always learnt by example

If children observe that adults tell lies, hide things or sometimes use them as accomplices in order to cover up dishonest behavior, whatever the motive may be, they will then learn that honesty is rather relative and anything goes as long as the lie is not discovered.

For this reason, avoid at all costs making your child an accomplice while you lie, as trivial as the lie may be – for example, saying you aren’t at home when you are. And above all, don’t justify lying and don’t allow your child to participate in it, not even as a game.

As parents we should try to be as honest as possible. We should not break our word. Rather, we should give value to it and always comply with made promises.

Giving an example is fundamental if we want to explain to children the value of promises and honesty. This way you will have a strong base to not tolerate when your child does not comply with their word and then you can explain the importance of doing so.

If you have an honest child that regularly tells the truth, it is also important to cultivate that virtue, reinforce and congratulate them. If  they sometimes fail, which is natural in all human beings, you should keep in mind the best disciplinary method you can take to correct their behavior. The fact that your child opts to tell the truth in the next situation should be a sign that they have understood their mistake.

Now, it’s true that taking care of this diamond we call honesty is no easy task. As parents we have an important role in developing our children who tomorrow will be adults and will be able to transform the world we live in.

The following useful advice will help us instill values and promote honesty in our children:

  • Speak with your child about the importance of honesty and truth. Explain to them that people who lie are not trust-worthy and that people who are dishonest are not usually well received by others.
  • Explain to your child what integrity is and how it influences their daily lives. Explain that integrity implies that people believe you when you are speaking. In other words, the value antiquated by “your word is your bond” is still very important.
  • Supervise them while they play with others. Teach them to share toys and the value of fair-play. Teach your child that playing fair will help them become a fair adult.
  • Show your child how to be a good friend. Explain to them the difference between a true friend and acquaintances. Showing your child how to be a good friend will also instill the values of respect and loyalty
  • Make your child feel responsible if they have done something wrong. Explain to them what they have done wrong and why it is wrong. Show them that their actions have consequences. This is a valuable lesson for all and it helps the child to think of the consequences of their actions before they act.

Even though sometimes it turns out to be complicated or we simply don’t know how, we should always try to instill and promote these values in our children. Be patient and you will find the most appropriate way to proceed for you and your children.

Above all, always have present that by doing so you are preparing your offspring to face the real world with the most honesty possible and this will always play in their favor.

Moreover, it is important to know that you planted and cultivated values that strongly grip your child’s heart. This will help you feel confident in your choices. If you do this, you will always be confident that wherever they are, they will be a well-rounded person doing good.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.