How can you teach honesty to your children? First of all, bear in mind that although honesty is an abstract term, its presence and consequences can be perceived in the actual world (in the same way that dishonesty and its effect can easily be observed). You can’t exactly teach your children honesty by defining the term in so many words, but you can always encourage your children to be honest.
One way to instill honesty among your children is not to confront them about mistakes that you know they will deny. Children feel nervous when they are confronted with their mistakes. Because of fear, they tend to lie and cover their misdeeds with repeated lying. So instead of confronting your children when he or she has done something wrong, try talking to him in a mild way. Say something like “James, please pick up the books you left on the floor” instead of saying, “Who scattered those books?” If you ask who did something, the children will be compelled to point to other people because he is afraid of being punished. But by telling him to clean up his own mess, he will have no opportunity to lie and he will realize that he should put his books and other belongings in their proper place.
Another important way to teach honesty is to be honest yourself. Sometimes, children become dishonest because they imitate what their elders are doing. If he sees you taking money from your partner’s wallet without asking permission, or if you intentionally do not return the excess change for something you brought at a store, he will think that those actions are alright. When he’s an adult he will not hesitate to steal or cheat because of the mistaken belief that he can get away such behavior. Imagine if he catches you having am affair and, when confronted, you lie about it. In that case, are you teaching honesty? What impression are you giving your child?
Setting an honest example will help your child realize what you want him to be. If you lie to your child but you get angry when he lies. Then your child will be confused. Remember also that trust is closely linked to honesty. If you lose your child’s trust, then you’ll never be able to teach him to be honest.