Another way to show that you value honesty is to praise and reward children for telling the truth and acting with integrity. Most important, you need to show your children that you value honesty over winning. You may not realize that you are valuing winning over truthfulness when you overpraise achievements far more than acts of integrity. But if your child tells you the truth about disobeying or about a low test grade, the way that you react will pave the way for your child’s understanding of honesty.
So what do you do when your child misbehaves and then tells you the truth? “This is a great example of teaching your kids how to deal with normal behavior,” says Haber. Instead of giving a harsh punishment, which just teaches a child that lying is the only way to get out of negative consequences, talk with your child about the behavior and brainstorm together to come up with an appropriate solution. For example, your child might write a note of apology for a misbehavior or come up with a study plan for the next test. And remember to emphasize to your child how proud you are that he told you the truth about what happened.