While we have certain rules that children have to abide by in our house (don’t hit each other, be kind, don’t pick your nose, don’t pick anyone else’s nose……….) I believe this one rule is more important than all of the others. This rule, I hope, will not only keep our children on the straight and narrow, but help keep them safe.
The rule is – “Always be honest”.
It’s quite simple. You just say to your children “Whatever happens, whatever you have done, as long as you tell me, we can work it out. If you are worried about something or someone, just tell me. Even if you think I might be cross or upset by it, telling is always the answer. Keeping secrets and lies will only make things worse. I love you, if you come to me, we can sort things out”.
1. It encourages openness.
Always tell your children that no matter what they have done, matter how bad they believe it is, they will be in far less trouble if they come clean. By knowing the repercussions will be far less severe by reporting the incident themselves, the hope is that they are more likely to come clean when they are in the wrong.
2. It helps you to help them
It means puts you in a better position to help them, even when they are in the wrong. They will inevitably, at some stage, do something that they are not supposed to. Whatever it may be, if you have the kind of relationship with your child where they come to you when they are in the wrong, you should be far better equipped to deal with this situation.
If your child has done something but knows that honesty leads to less trouble in the long run, they may tell you about the misdeeds of their own accord. If they do not come clean independently, the hope is that this rule will encourage them to confess when confronted by you. Trust me, it is far easier to help your child deal with what has happened armed with all of the information, even when they are in the wrong.
Children need to know that there will be consequences if they are in the wrong, but these consequences will be mild compared to lying on top of whatever they have done.
3. It means you can defend them when they are wrongly accused.
If you have the kind of relationship with your child where they tell you the whole truth every time, when they are wrongly accused, you will know that they are telling the truth and can defend them accordingly. If your child is accused of something, say in school, then it is far easier to fight their corner if you know that you have your facts straight. Being blind sided by things that they have kept from you makes life more difficult.
4. It means that they will be more inclined to come to you with problems.
Without a culture of honesty in the home, instances of bullying, worries and fears may be unreported. With an honesty policy, children will know that they should tell an adult about whatever might be bothering them. Things such as child protection issues are a prime example of why this rule is so important. Child abuse and bullying is often allowed to occur when the child feels that they can’t tell anyone.
5. It sets them up with a good mindset for future relationships.
As an adult, relationships are built on trust. By bringing your child up emphasising the importance of honesty during childhood, chances are they will be honest with their friends & partners as an adult. It also teaches them to expect honesty from the people in their lives and that they shouldn’t settle for less.
I am not suggesting the honesty rule will mean your child will never lie to you, or won’t keep things from you at times. The honesty rule will, however, create a safe space for your child to come to you with their problems. If it means that you can solve even one problem for them, I would say that it is worth it.
This blog post was written as part of #BLOGTOBER17 . Each day there is a specific prompt laid out on the Hex Mum Blog and bloggers all over the world are writing their own particular take on the subject. Today is #DAY19 and the prompt is #SECRETS