As far as I am concerned, children are honest when they are young. They like you if they know you are there for them and they don’t like you if they feel a sense of threat. They usually say what they mean and tell you like it is. I feel that they will learn to lie from those around them or they will learn to hide things from others, which is technically the same thing as lying.
LEARN? Children start off wanting and needing their parents from the very beginning. They need to be taken care of in every way. Then as they grow, they develop into their own person and start doing things for themselves. What they do is watch, they listen, and they learn from you. They learn from their parents and all of those around them in their world. They learn to be who they will eventually become and they learn what to do and what to say. So my question to you is this…what exactly are they learning?
Parents can’t assume their kids are telling the truth, but on the other hand, they can assume their kids are telling the truth. If you really think about this statement it can be profound, however, kids have to earn your trust and you have to give them the chance to (and the recognition when they do) tell the truth.
You have to set this honesty up very early in their life by giving them a chance to talk to you about everything, by being able to trust you, and by being able to discuss any thing and every thing with you. This is extremely important to their learning to be open and honest, so you never have to ask yourself that question…should I believe in what my children are saying or should I believe what they are telling me?
If you start NOT believing your kids, that will interfere in your relationship with them and may also cause them harm if they are trying to tell you something and you do not believe what they are telling you. In addition, they may also start to tell lies since they are not believed anyway and this will continue as they get older. Unless you know for sure your children are lying, then and only then you need to discuss with them that you know they are lying and now they need to suffer the consequences. (See Consequences and Parenting in my blog)
I feel that when you learn to lie, it is something that you will always do no matter if you need to or not. There is fine line of when you lie and when you are truthful. Lies become so much bigger than that one lie and then those lies can unravel your whole world and eventually it becomes more than one lie, it becomes several lies.
I think it takes less effort to tell the truth and your relationship with your children will be that much better. They do learn from you, so it is a two-way street. Don’t lie to your kids! Sometimes we lie to protect them, but is this protection something that really needs to be done? They have to learn to feel sadness and disappointment. They have to learn to feel anger. What are you protecting them from is the real question and definitely one you need to ask yourself.