Children’s main source of knowledge on the topic of honesty is you. No, not your lectures or your punishments. It’s how you embody honesty that really counts.
Sure, deep down you know this. But take a long look at yourself and think about whether you’re really modeling honesty and self-control. “Children watch what we do in our lives more than what we say, so if you want honesty with them, you better practice it yourself,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Joel Haber.
Do you lie about your child’s age in order to get him into an amusement park at a cheaper rate? Do you tell your child to tell a caller on the phone that you’re not home, just because you’re too busy to deal with the call right then? If so, your child will learn that while you preach honesty, you don’t truly value it.