Telling the truth is difficult. And teaching your kids to tell the truth, even more so. Fathers can be the disciplinarians in the house. They can instill the qualities in their kids which will make them into honest adults. But most fathers find it difficult to get the right message across. Fathers can inadvertently set wrong examples to their kids.
The resulting effect on the kids can only be known gradually. They grow up with the wrong beliefs and morals. Lying can get your kids and the people in their lives into trouble. It is important that fathers know about the usual missteps that they take, which eventually leads to their kids ending up as dishonest individuals.
What are some measures that fathers take which encourage the kids to lie?
- Creating a fear of failure in the kids.
- Setting up examples by being liars themselves.
- By failing to instill the importance of telling the truth.
- By not encouraging honesty in the kids.
- By placing the irrational weight of expectations on their shoulders.
Here is how dads can raise liars and what to do to stop
Dads who freak out, raise liars
There are fathers who can keep a level head. Then there are fathers who just do not know how to handle unfortunate circumstances. The former provides an encouraging parent for his kids to open up to and the latter is a weak personality who forces the kids to paint a rosy picture all the time.
Kids need to grow up imbibing the belief that if things go south in their lives, the fathers would be the rock on which they can find support. This instills confidence in them and makes them less scared of failures.
- Treat failures as hiccups: Fathers have to teach their kids that failures are temporary setbacks that can be fought back from. Today’s society demands a lot out of adults. From kids, even more so. They are always told to succeed, and that failure is not an option. In such a tense competitive environment, kids can feel lost when they fail. And when they know that their parents are going to be even more lost by their failures they resort to lying.
They lie about relationships, grades, money, and life generally to keep the pretense up with their parents. Fathers should tell the kids that transparency with one’s family is a must. Let them know that irrespective of how the world treats them, their parents would be there to prop them up.
Dads who do not encourage honesty but demand it
Kids need to understand why honesty matters. They have to learn how telling the truth makes them better people. Fathers can encourage honesty in kids by rewarding their truths and ensuring that the smallest lies have consequences. They need to understand that there would be no compromises when it comes to punishments for dishonesty.
But more importantly, they need to learn that they should not be honest to please their parents. They should not be honest to please anybody but solely because that is the right thing to do. Being honest should not be a choice.
- Honesty should be rewarded: Kids have to learn the tangible benefits of being honest. Often fathers make the mistake of imparting very vague lessons of honesty. Kids need to learn it much more tangibly. It is much easier to lie and get out of difficult situations. Kids realize this very early in life.
And they identify the very tangible benefits of lying. Being honest should also have perks. And this should involve the participation of not just fathers but the society, schools, and other parents. Kids accept and practice values that have practical benefits. Let us ensure to make honesty a beneficial virtue.
Dads who lie
The most common mistake that fathers can make while trying to raise honest is being liars themselves. You can teach a kid the entirety of morals you want, but at the end of the day, he or she will learn by examples. Things learned in books and imparted to by elders mean not a thing in comparison to what they learn through observations.
And please do not make the mistake of thinking that you can lie on the sly and get away with it with the kids. Kids are way more attentive than adults and are always noticing how their parents go about their lives. Being caught red-handed at lying by your kids is not just embarrassing, it sets a mighty wrong example as well.
- Show them how it is done: Be truthful in the most difficult of circumstances yourself. Your kids should see the alternate easier options that you had and yet you chose to take the more difficult one of being honest and telling the truth.
Because that was the right thing to do. Follow up your actions with lessons for your kids. Expose them to situations in life where they have to make tough choices. From a very young age, be the proud example to your kids that you would want them to be for others.
Letting their failures get to you
Most parents and especially fathers do not take failures well. They react to failures in either of two ways: they either let the kids know that they are disappointed, or they lash out at the kids for not succeeding. Neither scenario is ideal if you are trying to teach lessons in telling truths to your kids.
Kids who fear their parents more often than not grow up to be liars. Strict parents who maintain a tight leash on their kids, do not give them any space to commit mistakes. More importantly, they do not give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
- Fear abets dishonesty: Only when your kids are given the freedom to find out their passions and interests on their own, do they grow as individuals. And in this quest, they would have to undergo their fair share of failures. If they are not given the support, to be honest about their failures to their parents, they will invariably grow up to be adults who are dishonest about their failures in society.
They lie at school, then at work, and ultimately in relationships. They find that lying leads to much lesser explanations and wrath from people. But they lose sight of the damage that the discovery of truths can cause. It has to be the parents who take up the mantle of abolishing this fear of failure.
It is vital that the kids know failing honorably is better than succeeding dishonorably on any given day. Let them see the larger picture to become better adults.
Dads who care less, fail more
Fathers who do not get the time to care for their kids, inevitably fail in raising them right. These fathers only come to discover the vices that their kids have picked up when it is too late. At this point in time, they have nobody else to blame but themselves.
It is often too late by when these fathers realize the mistakes they made and the effects they had on their kids. Fathers should always make it a point to connect with their kids on a regular basis and know more about their lives.
- Know how your kids spend time: Children imbibe most of the qualities from friends with whom they spend a lot of their time. And so, the kind of company that your kids keep plays a very important role in the shaping of their character. Keeping a tab on their friends and their activities will help fathers know how they are growing up. In addition to their friend circle, his other pass times should also be regularly monitored.
Things that he checks out online, books that he read, and the manner in which he behaves with people have to be noted. The gist is that honesty does not come in a vacuum. Kids with an all-around good character develop honesty. Make sure that he learns it.
Dads who leave promises unfulfilled
There are fathers who make tall promises to their kids and often fail to deliver on them. They make these promises in the first place to look good in front of the kids. But they do not realize that not following up on those promises can have much deeper impacts on the kids. Kids need to learn that words carry weight.
They need to be taught that they cannot get away by making promises that they cannot keep. And fathers who themselves fail to do so, lose all authority to impose these requirements on their kids. Fathers have to lead by example to make the kids understand that following up on your words is extremely important in life.
- Protect them from future setbacks: When people cannot be trusted to deliver on their promises their integrity gets questioned. Failing to follow on your promises is a sign of weakness and once kids develop a weak personality, they also lose the sense of shame related to broken promises and hollow words. Fathers need to identify the negative impacts that their broken promises have on the children’s psyche. To adults, breaking small promises might seem insignificant, but it is not so for the kids.
The lesson that they learn from it is that there are no consequences to breaking promises and that it is something that adults do all the time. They realize that making promises gets you the momentary goodwill which can be broken at any time with little or no backlash.
This is setting them up for a lifetime of failures and difficult interpersonal relationships. Integrity breeds honesty and truthfulness. Fathers should teach them these invaluable lessons in morality.
Dads who enforce irrational taboos
In conservative households, the paternal figures impose illogical and unrequired censorship on discussions and debates on various topics. They would much rather prefer no one in the family speaking on those subjects to a constructive and well-informed debate on the same. Various topics fall under this purview, but it mainly revolves around sex and religion.
In any traditional family, these topics are well beyond the realm of reasoning and should not be brought up at all. Kids growing in these circumstances grow up with a narrow mindset. Now when these kids engage in acts that are against the beliefs of their families, they lie.
- Encourage inquisitiveness: When fathers encourage the kids to ask about things that they do not know, they are opening themselves as the source of vital information for inquisitive young minds. When the kids fail to communicate their doubts with their fathers, they find alternate sources.
These alternate sources may not necessarily be in the best interests of the kids. Open yourself up for all kinds of discussions with your kids so that they would never have to lie to you. In the process, they grow up to be objective adults who can look at the world impartially and without prejudice.
Lying is despised by society. But it is equally hard to be truthful all the time. Nurturing a truthful nature in kids is a prerequisite for them to have a successful life. Fathers can make a lot of mistakes in inculcating these qualities in the kids.
They have to be careful of the values that they pass on to their kids and keep a close eye on their kids. Kids have extremely impressionable minds, and it does not take much for them to wander in their ways.
Molding their thinking and morality is easier when they are little. And so, fathers should try to instill the right principles in them. The moral compass of a person determines how far they will go in life. As for the kids, their compass needs to be set to the moral north early on.
Ethics and values cannot be earned later on, just as they cannot be lost once ingrained. Kids brought up with the right values hold onto them till the very end. Fathers can make lying unsavory and being honest, the coolest virtue to have.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do overbearing fathers force their kids to lie?
Yes, they do. When the kids fear the repercussions of failure, they invariably resort to lying. Fathers need to look at the long-term wellness of their kids and compromise on short-term failures to get the bigger wins of raising honest adults.
How should fathers treat their kids if they are caught lying?
It is very important for fathers to make the kids realize that lying would not go unpunished. But at the same time, instilling fear of punishment can lead to more unwanted behavioral traits. Fathers, more importantly, need to instill the positive aspects of being honest in the kids. Make them choose truth over lie every time.
Does lying to your kids make them trivialize lying?
It does. When kids see that their parents do not have any qualms about lying, they most certainly trivialize it themselves. Leading by example and being role models for your kids is paramount in making them value honesty.
Do kids learn more from the company they keep or their parents?
It is both of them. Kids are constantly developing their personalities and they pick up qualities from everywhere. This is why it is important to know with whom your kids hang out. At the same time setting the right examples at home is equally important.