Acknowledging Acts of Honesty
We’re home!” your teenager and his best friend say. When you ask howthe movie was, they both say great.When you askwhat they saw, they each give you different answers.
“You know, I’d never cheat,”your daughter once told you. But you notice that she brought home a testwith a perfect score and you know she didn’t study or knowthe material well enough.
Unfortunately, cheating and dishonesty are more prevalent in our children than we would like. In a survey of 3,370 high school students, about 9 out of 10 said that cheating is common at their school. The number one reason for cheating: It’s not a big deal.
Yet according to Search Institute, honesty is a big deal. Of youth surveyed, 67% say they believe it is important to tell the truth even when it is not easy. And there’s a difference between girls and boys: 73% of girls say they value honesty, whereas only 60% of boys do.
To instill the value of honesty,we need to talk about it, model it, and explain why honesty is an important value. Honest people are trustworthy, sincere, and genuine people. Honesty is a value worth having.
Tips for modeling honesty for your child:
- Correct the situation immediately when clerks give you too much change.
- Be honest in talking to telemarketers. Instead of hanging up or making an excuse, just say, “No, thank you. We’re not interested.” Then hang up.
- Admit when you’ve fudged the truth and apologize.
- Brainstorm ways to be honest in a particularly sticky situation, such as breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Three ways to help your child value honesty:
- Encourage each family member to make a personal commitment to tell the truth. Honestly acknowledge feelings. Honestly admit to successes and mistakes.
- Don’t overreact when your child lies to you. Children will lie if they fear your reaction.
- Work together to come up with family rules about honesty and the consequences for dishonesty.
Looking for more Ideas?
Download the latest Ideas for Parents Newsletter for more tips, hints and details about Service to Others.
Learn more about the 40 Developmental Assets from Search Institute (Minneapolis, MN).