Only with a character of honesty can we build deep, meaningful friendships. With a character of dishonesty, we destroy them. Once trust is broken, it is extremely difficult—and sometimes impossible—to earn it back. Fathers should impress upon the hearts of our children that lying is a massive problem. There is great honor in admitting a mistake, taking responsibility, and then striving to make things right.
Our children learn more from what they see parents do than from what they hear us say; their entire value system is rooted in the things they witness. When we are truthful in our dealings with others, our children are more likely to emulate honesty. Do we keep our promises?
Making the Truth Safe
We don’t want to deter our children from inclinations towards honesty. It is so important that we avoid making negative, immediate reactions to ANY of their confessions. By expressing disapproval when they tell the truth, we make honesty unsafe. View these vulnerable moments as opportunities to reinforce that the truth is always best. Intentionally provide calm, supportive, and loving appreciation for their honesty. An open-door policy doesn’t support bad behavior but provides a comfort zone of safety and nurturing. An honest relationship with dad paves a two-way street for a lifetime of navigating life’s trials and tribulations together.
Dad’s Place at the Same Side of the Table
For children to be confident in sharing heavy conversations, it is best when they trust both dad and dad’s intentions. Rather than taking a contrarian position, pull up a proverbial chair on the same side of the table. Speak calmly and with conviction; offer steadfast reassurance that we are their biggest ally, fan, and supporter. Convince them: to be 100% equipped to have their back, we cannot afford to be hand-cuffed by any misunderstandings or half-truths; total openness and honesty allow us to advocate for them and their interests to the very best of our abilities.
Minimize Opportunities for Lying by Being Solution & Team-Oriented
Minimize the opportunity for children to tell lies. Instead of saying, “Did you coat the counter with peanut butter?” try, “I can see that we coated the counter with peanut butter, we’re going to have to clean this up.” Removing an adversarial or accusing tone will minimize the likelihood of frightened “caught-in-the-act” denials that children sometimes use to avoid admonishment. Simply state what we see has happened and, as their ally, suggest a solution. Intelligent word choice and intentionally framed comments on bad behavior can save our children from potentially dishonest conversations.
Honesty is the cornerstone of all healthy relationships; without trust, there is no foundation. Children whose fathers are transparent and honest with others learn to recognize the tremendous value of being truthful. As kids grow, safeguard our role as their trusted confidant, and give them the confidence to come to dad no matter what challenge they are facing. When they do misbehave, dial back knee-jerk reactions—respond with non-judgmental, nurturing parenting energies that correct bad behaviors while simultaneously appreciating and emphasizing the importance of being honest.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
—John 8:32 NLT
An honest schoolboy’s embarrassing failure is turned triumphant in this satisfying tale of honesty rewarded.
“We all lie like hell,” says Dr. Brad Blanton. “It wears us out… it is the major source of all human stress. It kills us.” But you CAN escape this jail. This is not a kinder, gentler self-help book. Get good at telling the truth and escape from that jail of the mind.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.