Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Learning How to be Honest

To instill the value of honesty in a child, use art. Have her draw a picture of how it makes her feel when someone is honest and trustworthy. Give her an example, like when she dropped a dollar and a friend gave it back to her. Have her draw another picture of how she would feel if the person had not been honest with her. Your child will learn empathy in this way and recognize the positive aspects of honesty and the negative associations with being dishonest.

Many times children will absorb a lesson more effectively if they feel like they are having fun playing games. Play a game with your child where you make two true statements and one false statement. She has to choose which of the statements is the lie. Next, allow her to make honest statements and tell a lie. Repeat the process for several rounds. Whoever guesses the most lies wins the game. This process helps to teach a child what is the truth and what is a lie. Purchase or make your own board game that focuses on honesty. Make a series of index cards that include a hypothetical situation and ask your child how he would respond. Talk about the consequences of his decision. Pass the set of cards to the next person. Complete this activity on the weekend or during dinner each night.

Pictionary is a game that children love to play and it's easy to come up with a version that applies to whatever an adult is trying to teach. In this instance, adults can create many cards that show instances where a child will need to make a decision about whether he will tell the truth or a lie. For instance, write on cards situations like "broken mug," "puddle on kitchen floor," "dent on car," or "hole in jeans." Break into two teams and one side is the drawing team and the other is the guessing team. Set a timer for 30 seconds to see if they can guess the picture in that amount of time.Once the team guesses the picture, it's simple to have a short little discussion about the image. Questions like "What do you think happened to the mug?" and "What should the child who broke it do about it?" will allow kids to reflect on honesty.Adults can also discuss what the possible consequences might be for certain actions. For instance, if the mug broke by accident and he told the truth, there is no consequence. If he lied about breaking the mug, even though it was an accident, there would be a consequence. Reinforce the fact that consequences will be more severe if children are not honest
Tall Tales: Use this activity at any time, and while it seems like just a fun story, it can teach children that not telling the truth, or exaggerating the facts in a story can sound silly to someone else.Choose an event that happened while you were with the child, and make it into a story. For instance, you can tell a story of how you went camping last summer. As you tell the story, insert five untruths or exaggerations into the tale. They can be anything from encountering a bear, to changing what color tent you stayed in. See if the child can figure out the five facts that are not true in your story.The US Department of Education in "My Child's Academic Success" suggests having a conversation about how a child feels about a friend who tells lies, and whether she would trust that friend in the future. This activity is an effective way for children to hear how a tall tale sounds to other people and realize that those who exaggerate the truth may not be trustworthy.

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