Parenting Tips: Character Building - 5 Ways to Help Your Child Tell the Truth

Has your child ever told you a lie? How should we deal with that?  Did he eventually tell the truth? It is sad when our children tell a lie.  But it is not hopeless.  We can teach them to tell the truth.  

For me, I let them know how wrong it is to lie and the consequences of it. I do try to talk to them calmly but firmly. And when they do tell the truth afterward, I affirm their action. 

Below is a helpful parenting article by Jean Tracy about building the character of truthfulness into our children. This is reprinted here in my blog with permission from Jean Tracy. Hope you enjoy her parenting tips.

Is your child telling fibs? Would you like 5 parenting tips to help her tell the truth? Inside you'll find five suggestions you can use.

Quote on Truthfulness:
"What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things." - Margaret Meade

Parents, if you have a child who tells fibs, are you frustrated? Perhaps you've discussed the problem with her but she keeps "exaggerating." What can you do?

Let's say your child feels like he or she lives in the shadow of a successful older brother or sister. Sometimes s/he says, "I did that too, only better." Then, tells a story about his or her success. Everyone knows it isn't true.

In our last newsletter we briefly discussed the 4 reasons children misbehave - power, attention, revenge and helplessness. The one that sticks out for me in this case, is attention. If you have such a child, consider the following 5 suggestions.

5 Parenting Tips for Building a Truthful Character:
~ Use parent affirmations. Tell your child specifically what is special about her. Put love notes under her pillow and read them to her when it's bedtime. Then talk about the affirmation. If you do, she won't feel the need to exaggerate her own importance. She'll enjoy bedtime too. Of course, love notes can go inside lunch boxes, a pocket, or a handy kitchen basket. You'll need to do the same for your other children to avoid jealously. This will increase your bond with each child.
~ Create a truthfulness chart. At the top of the chart write, "My goal is to tell the truth." Give your child a sticker to put on the chart when he admits he fibbed, when he tells the truth, and when he praises his older brother or sister for their success. He'll love the stickers and the positive attention, especially if the chart is posted on the refrigerator for all to see.

~ Hold family meetings. If your family already knows your child tells fibs, ask the members to kindly tell her how her fibbing affects them. Let her talk about it too. Ask everyone to make a commitment to help her be more truthful. Maybe they'll give her a special look, say her name in kind but special way, or give her a special gesture. These can be reminders to help her tell the truth.

~ Ask your local librarian for children's storybooks that help children tell the truth. Share these books with your child. Discuss them too.

~ Boost your parenting skills. If you get angry when your child fibs and you say hurtful things, make some changes. Catch yourself. Make a commitment to become kind as well as firm.

Character Building Conclusion:

Stop worrying about your children's fibs. Choose these parenting tips to help your children do what they say and say what they do truthfully.

Building character in your kids is the best way to create a happy family. Your own behavior in handling problems, giving love and attention, and using character building stories will become bonding experiences. You'll also enjoy the feeling of being a good parent.

Jean Tracy, MSS, publishes a free Parenting Newsletter at and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

Subscribe to Jean Tracy's blog at and pick up a new tip with each post.

Contact the Author
Jean Tracy, MSS
Discipline Tips for Parents
More Details about parenting tips for building character here.


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