There are some lessons our children learn not by listening to our words but by watching our examples.
I want my kids to grow up to be honest people who please God. I want them to have integrity, to always do the right thing.
Just like they write in journals because I do, they lie because I do.
Consider the following:
- Do you ever hide expenses so your spouse doesn’t find out?
- Do you behave differently with your pastor than with your friends?
- Have you ever told your kids or your spouse, “Just a second!” when you knew it would be 5 or 10 minutes or more?
- What would you do if you found a $20 bill on the sidewalk with no one around?
- Would you ‘fess up if you overspent your weekly budget and had to borrow from the household fund?
- Do you say you’re on your way when you aren’t even dressed yet?
- Is the check really in the mail?
- When was the last time you said, “Yes, you’re right.” when you really didn’t think so?
- Does your child know that you expect her to be grateful and say she likes a gift – even if she doesn’t?
- If you were pulled over by a police officer, would you admit that you were speeding?
- Have you ever promised to call someone or make a lunch date – when you knew you really wouldn’t?
- Would you admit that you forgot to do something (or intentionally procrastinated) or offer an excuse that isn’t true?
- Do you ever pretend that you know more about a topic than you really know?
- Have you ever stretched the truth to get a cashier to give you a better price?
- Do you ever end drawn-out phone calls by saying, “Oh, I’m sorry. I have to run to the bathroom!” – when you really don’t? (Is that too much information?)
- Do you ever exaggerate all the things you have to do to make yourself look better (busier, more important, more stressed out, holier)?
- I’m not here to call you out, my friend. Please understand that. I have done more than one of these things – and done them in front of my kids.
I expect my kids to be 100% honest, even when the situation is uncomfortable, but I am not always successful at it myself. I know how hard honesty is to put into practice.
6 Things to Consider When Your Kids Lie
- Remember that your kids are broken sinners – just like you and me.
- Think about your example. Is your child behaving in the same way she’s seen you behave recently? (It convicts me when my daughter says something rude in my voice. Clearly, she’s following my example. Ouch.)
- Don’t take it personally. The lie is probably not about you at all. It’s about your child.
- Show her grace. I’m not saying there should be no punishment. God sometimes levies punishments on us, and sometimes consequences are necessary for our children. Just like God forgives us and moves on, we should forgive our kids and move on. Don’t dwell on the lie. Don’t shame your child or make her think she’s a bad kid just because she’s made a bad choice.
- Create teachable moments. Role play situations when it might be hard to tell the truth. Read books where the characters face sticky situations. Watch videos like I Will Tell The Truth (My kids really love Hermie & Friends, so this one was a big hit with them!) and Cocka Doodle Doo The Right Thing.
- Read God’s Word. Find a translation that is easy to understand, and help your child to see what God’s Word says about honesty and telling the whole truth.
Tara Ziegmont is a professional blogger, blog coach, and SEO specialist. She created an internationally-syndicated, award-winning blog called Feels Like Home in 2007 and continues to publish it today. Tara homeschools the older of her two crazy children and lives an old-school back-to-basics frugal lifestyle while working full-time from home.