Here’s the scenario:
Parent:‘ Did you do this?’
Parent: ‘Go to your room.’
Your child learns that by telling the truth they get in trouble.
The next time:
Parent: ‘Did you do this?’
Parent: ‘Well, I hope you didn’t.’
Both my husband and I realized early on that if we wanted Caidin to tell the truth, it was and is important to be conscious of how we reacted to Caidin when he did tell the truth. We had to be sure that we balanced recognition for telling the truth with behavior correction and not to confuse the two.
This, to me, is one one of the ultimate Conscious Parenting tools because it has an impact on your overall communication space with your child. If they trust you to tell you what’s going on you are setting the ground work for those challenging teenage years.
How to teach your child to tell the truth
- When your child does something, you ask them to tell you what happened or to tell you the ‘truth’.
- When they do, you say ‘Thank you for telling me the truth, that’s so important.’
- Then you talk to them about what they did, why it is wrong or where they made the wrong decision.
- If an action needs to be taken, then you figure out what that action is.
Here’s a memorable example of this with Caidin.
When Caidin was in Kindergarten I walked him to and from school every day. It gave us many wonderful opportunities to talk about everything from the day-to-day to the miracles of nature.
One day, as we were walking home from school, Caidin reached into his pocket and pulled something out to hold in his hand. His body language and his silence told me something was amiss.
I asked him what he had in his hand and he opened it to show me a toy car. Upon seeing it I knew it wasn’t his.
I took a breath and I said calmly, ‘What’s that?’ and he said, ‘It’s a car.’ ‘Where did you get it?’ I replied.
Caidin went on to tell me that he had taken it from his friend’s cubby.
The first thing I did was thank Caidin for telling me the truth.
Then I asked him if he knew why he took the toy and if he knew that what he did was wrong.
The biggest issue was that he had taken the toy from his BEST friend, so it gave us an opportunity to talk about trust and friendships.
I asked him what he thought he should do. His first try was ‘can I just bring it back tomorrow and put it back in my friend’s cubby?’
I thought about it and I said, ‘that doesn’t feel right to me. You’ll know that you took it, but he won’t and that will always be there in your mind as you move forward. I think you need to give it back to him, tell him what you did and apologize.’
He thought about it and said, ‘OK, but I’m scared. What if he doesn’t like me anymore?’
‘That’s a possibility, but being honest is important,’ I told Caidin.
I then said, ‘Let me call his Mom and see if they are still at school.’
‘Can’t I do it tomorrow?’ Caidin said.
‘You could, but then you’ll have to spend the whole night worrying about tomorrow. Let’s just see if we can address it now,’ I said.
Caidin’s friend was still at school, so we walked all the way back and Caidin courageously handed the toy back to his friend and admitted that he had taken it and apologized. On the plus side, his friend didn’t seem to really care, so he just said ‘oh, ok.’ They hugged and that was it.
Well, that was it for that part.
We resumed our walk home. I told Caidin I was proud of him for telling the truth to both me and to his friend and for dealing with the situation head-on. As we walked, Caidin stopped and looked at me with tears in his eyes and said ‘What about my Dad? Are you going to tell him?’
I responded with, ‘well, it’s something I do need to share with him, but don’t you think it would be better if you told him?’ To which Caidin agreed.
I prepped my husband ahead of time, letting him know what had already transpired and what actions had been taken. When Chuck got home, Caidin waited until his Dad was sitting in his chair and then he walked up to him, stood in front of his Dad and said ‘I did something today and I need to tell you.’ He went on to tell his Dad what he had done and how he had dealt with it and in the end, his dad gave him a big hug and thanked him for telling him, asked him what he had learned and that was it.
I could see the look of relief and surprise on Caidin’s face, he was certain that he was going to get in trouble.
Later that night Caidin asked me, ‘why didn’t my Dad get mad?’ I said, ‘well, you told him the truth and you did everything that you could to take responsibility for the situation, including telling your Dad, so there wasn’t much else to say.’
Today Caidin pretty much tells us the truth. He has his moments and we address those specifically, because I really don’t like lying. I think it lowers our vibration and makes us less of who we truly are.
We continue to positively reinforce the telling of the truth and what we see is that Caidin is more willing to talk to us about things and tell us what is going on in his life.
It’s important to remember that as parents we are here to teach and guide our children. Punishment tends to teach children to hide the truth. We want to teach our children that they can come to us and talk to us about the mistakes they’ve made. Yes, we need to make sure that actions have consequences, but we need to make sure that those consequences yield a learning lesson that is something other than learning to not share the truth with us.
© 2012 Christine Agro
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Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, invite her to speak or to schedule an appointment with her please email her