I wished I had a parenting handbook today. Once again I had to find a way to talk to my Baby Girl about HONESTY. We've had trouble before like The Chocolate Milk Fib and Go Fish Cheater-Pants. Apparently, my parenting tactics used previously have not been super effective yet. And today, I pulled out the good 'ol "dishonesty leads to bigger problems" and even "there's jail for teenagers" lecture today. My poor 6 year old. *Sigh.*
We found out she'd been doing some small, but on-going, dishonest things for weeks now. Now, please remember who Baby Girl is. She's a beautiful, sweet child. She has a pretty calm disposition. She usually doesn't cause too much trouble. But I also know that no one is perfect, including myself, and so this is just something she is trying to understand right now. And HONESTY is HARD.
I believe that if we let HONESTY disappear in our society then the we are letting GOODNESS, and HAPPINESS, and PEACE disappear too. What will be left in our world if we can't even trust each other anymore? Even if the whole wide world is dishonest, I want my 3 little people to be able to say, "My mother taught me to be HONEST, so I'm really gonna try to be."
I just wish I knew how to help Baby Girl understand it. I'm sure it mostly will just take time and continual teaching on my part, but don't you just wish there were step-by-step instructions with the actual actions for teaching things like this? Something like, "Step 1. Sit your child down and tell story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Step 2. . . etc". I need a parental handbook . . .
But I realized today, as I thought more about honesty (after my "kids can go to jail" lecture was over) that I DO HAVE A HANDBOOK. It's not the kind of handbook I had expected.
I thought about my own mother and father. I thought about their almost impeccable HONESTY. I thought about how they have tried for years and years to do what is right. I thought about my in-laws. They too are people who strive to be honest in all they do. And I thought about my four grandparents. All of them were people of integrity who made this world a better place. THEY ARE MY HANDBOOK. The examples of these good people (and many more) show me that HONESTY is POSSIBLE. It is not lost in society and it can be taught in my home. Even if I have to keep trying over and over.
And as I do so, I become the Parenting Handbook for my own children someday. My example teaches them. Like I said, someday I hope my children will teach HONESTY in their home and that they'll say, "My mother taught me to be HONEST, so we are really gonna try to be."
Here's a good article I found from Parents Magazine that helps parents handle honesty with their kids:
The Cheating Child
And here's a family lesson idea to teach your kids to BE TRUE from Home Maid Simple.
I wish you luck in your parenting adventures. Have an honestly good day.