I don’t know how people encourage honesty in kids apart from God’s good Word. How do we teach morality without the standard He has set forth? When we know what our guidelines are, we can more easily teach our kids right from wrong, or a truth from a lie. Under the instruction of God’s Word, we can learn how to encourage honesty in our children.
This post is part of the Building Virtues in Your Children Series
I look back at my childhood, and I wonder how I was able to get away with so many lies. I thought I got away with them, but maybe people saw right through me.
I have told little lies that roll off the tongue, and I likewise have told elaborate lies. You know those lies. The ones that people either believe entirely or can’t believe you could come up with such a falsehood. Well, that was me as a teenager.
Even as an adult, it was nothing for me to lie to cover myself or to avoid a headache. I cared about lying very little because I wasn’t that bad. I had no bar or line NOT to cross until I learned about the One who sacrificed it all to save my soul.
Now as a parent, knowing Christ, how do we encourage honesty, but in a way that is lasting and not fleeting? It is almost like I didn’t know how to teach my kids to be honest when I was dishonest as a child myself. But, God…
He left us guidelines to follow, and if we know nothing else, we know that we cannot go wrong when we are teaching our children through his Word.
Help build your child’s character by encouraging honesty. Here are a few ways you can start:
Encourage honesty in your child by being honest.
In 1 Samuel 12: 1-5, Samuel reminds the people of his integrity to show them that they should have the same type of integrity before the Lord. Samuel said, “you have not found anything in my hand.”
How many of us can say we resemble the picture of honesty we want our children to follow? Children learn how to act as they watch us react to things all around. Choose who you will serve – and demonstrate that for your little ones. Be honest, even if it hurts. Show love and gentleness in your honesty, so that your child can model it and practice in their own journey. (It is tough, I know.)
Encourage being honest by pointing them to scripture.
When we raise our children with the understanding that His Word is the truth, that everything in the Bible is God-breathed and inspired, then we have the basis in encouraging them to follow what it says.
God’s Word is unequivocally true. When our children lie, or to prevent them from wanting to lie, we point them to God’s Word for an unwavering foundation that encourages truth.
Scriptures like Proverbs 12:22, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth” make amazing memory verses to instill in their hearts. The ten commandments and “thou shall not lie” are solidified in their minds/hearts to guide future decisions.
Ephesians 4:29 instructs us to, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” These scriptures are very relevant to them even today. Use them.
Encourage your kids to be honest by praising their honest responses.
Don’t forget to notice when your child chooses truth over an easier lie. Just the other day, my 9-year-old told me something in the car that threw me back. He could have told a lie and I wouldn’t have ever found out.
I didn’t overreact or make a big deal out of it. What I did tell him was that I appreciated that he was honest with me. I was a little over the top with my praise, but I wanted him to know that I valued his honesty over what he did.
Remind your child about what the Lord says – about telling the truth and lying. The Lord reminded His people time and time again in the way they should go through others, and as parents, we can do the same. Try this:
Proverbs 10:9 – “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” Praise: Thank you so much for telling the truth; you will grow up to be a man with integrity.
Proverbs 12:22 – “The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful.” Praise: Do you know the Lord delights in you because you are truthful?!
If you are looking for some tools to help you teach and encourage honesty in your home, these freebies can help:
FREE Honesty Printable Pack for Kids | Proverbial Homemaker
The Lie Monster: A FREE printable story about honesty | My Silly Squirts
Honesty for Kids: Free Printables for Family Dinner Book Club | Sunny Day Family
A FREE Study in Honesty No Prep Worksheet and Activity Book | Miniature Masterminds
FREE Character Counts Week- Activities | Talking Tree Books
Teaching Children About Honesty w/FREE Printable Worksheets | Simple at Home
Also, help build their character with the resources below:
How to Develop New Habits and Build Character
FREE Character Curriculum for Elementary Students
We can see how innate it is for children to lie when we see how quickly it can become a habit. Teaching our kids honesty is probably one of the most important things we can do as a parent. Paving the way for your child to become a truthful and trustworthy person can be a character trait that brings blessings throughout their lifetime.
Being an honest person is equivalent to having the HABIT of being truthful and trustworthy. We aren’t encouraging our kids to be perfect. We are only encouraging them in the effort to make honesty a habitual behavior, that combats the instinct to lie.
We remind our kids that an honest character is a sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives as Hebrews 6: says that it’s impossible for God to lie. When we make efforts to be honest, we reflect how God had intended us to live and be.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
Series Navigation Next: How to Encourage Your Child to Put God First