Honesty (with your children) is the Best Policy


Welcome to February edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and

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Photo by Jintae Kim

The phrase “honesty is the best policy” has been uttered by many for hundreds of years. When it comes to parents and children though, the policy is traditionally thrown out the window.

 From the tooth fairy to toys that disappear in the night, parents are setting up a system of distrust. When parents lie, not only are they modelling that lieing is in fact, acceptable, they are proving to their kids that they can’t be trusted. In the same vein, parents encourage their children to lie to them with punitive strategies. It’s a circular situation, diminshing trust between all parties and preventing healthy attachments that last a lifetime.
I’ve been a parent for over nine years now. I have four children. I have yet to lie to them. I won’t lie to you and say that there haven’t been times when a little white lie felt like it would be easier. There have definitely been those times. Relationships aren’t always easy though. Neither is parenting. They both take time and investment and dare I say even, work.
I want my relationships with my children to be built on a foundation of trust and authenticity. I want our relationships to grow as just my children grow. I don’t want to wake up one day to find a teenager I don’t know because s/he doesn’t trust me enough to tell me what is going on in his/her life or is afraid to talk to me about something. Honesty is the best policy, especially with our children.

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Visit Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

encouraging lies…

Most parents don’t want their children to lie, but sometimes they unknowingly encourage just that by their own behavior. In order to avoid this, we need to make certain that we don’t set up situations which promote lying.

Provoked lies are a type of defensive lie. No one wants to feel interrogated or trapped by someone else. Yet, how many parents ask questions which set their children up to lie? If you know the answer to a question, there isn’t any need to ask it. Act on that information without trying to force your child to say it, which may very well result in a lie. Fear of punishment alone can result in defensive lies. Rather than working to solve the problem, you will be creating a future problem, as your children work better to conceal their actions. Children also lie because they haven’t been allowed to fully express their feelings. If someone negates your feelings, it defeats the purpose of telling the truth. If we want true honesty from our children, we have to be prepared for all truths – the positive and negative ones.

Often times, children aren’t intentionally lying. They really do wish that what they are saying is true. A mature reaction from us during these times is to reflect our understanding of the meaning behind their words rather than denying the content or condemning the child. The information we learn during these interactions can be used to help our children distinguish between reality and wishful thinking.

When dealing with lies, it’s important to state what we observe without attacking the child. They need to know that there is no reason to lie and that they can come to us and tell us anything.