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For Mothers

For Mothers: Honesty is the best Policy

If you want your child to be honest with you, don’t lie to him/her… not even a tiny lie. Honesty is the best policy.

If you want your child to trust you, tell the truth (not necessarily frank, blunt, rude or totally transparent or age-inappropriate, but be honest).

If you want a relationship built upon trust, be honest with your children. In everything, be honest. That’s what I believe.

I’ve never lied to my child

I made a decision when my boy was very young, never to lie to him.

Of course there are things I don’t share. Age appropriateness is important to a child’s well being.

But I remember when my son was heading toward his first Christmas and I thought, ‘I’m not going to encourage Santa Claus stories. I won’t fabricate or lie. I won’t tell him there’s no Father Christmas, but I won’t encourage the story either.’ 

Why not encourage Santa? 

There is a principle in child rearing, “Start the way you want to finish.”

I decided never to lie to my son because one day, when I said to him, “Don’t lie me,” I didn’t want him to come back at me and say I’d lied to him.

I figured if I never lied to him, I would have moral authority over the argument about truthfulness. If I told him the truth, I would be fostering honesty, whereas if I lied even on something like Santa Clause, I wouldn’t be able to say, “I’ve never lied to you” and he could accuse me of hypocrisy.

One day it happened!

And sure enough, that day of accusation came. 

One day, I said I expected him to tell me the truth. He said I’d not always told him the truth. I said I had.

He said, ”What about Santa Claus?”

We talked it through and he realised that, yes indeed, I’d never lied to him about Santa. I had never announced or endorsed Santa. I’d never even given him a present from Santa, but the unlabelled presents he’d assumed were from Santa.

I’m so grateful

My son and I get along very well. I’m so grateful.

I’m sure my son has secrets — He needs to grow independently as he grows in his adulthood. And I give him room, give him his privacy. 

But I’m also convinced, he doesn’t lie to me. I’m so grateful.

I really believe honesty is always the best policy. We need wisdom to ensure what is shared is always healthy, age relevant information. But in our mothering, I encourage us all to be honest with our children.