How do I keep my child from being deceitful?
Character involves many things from being a person of faith, to someone who works hard, who abides by their commitments and responsibilities, who has come into their own sense of themselves and their worth. However, the true character of a person is who they are when no one else is watching. It is in the little things that true character manifests itself.
For instance, if a salesperson gives you too much change, do you go back to the store and return the correct amount, or rationalize: “It was his/her mistake, not mine. Deceit is one of those behaviors that uncovers a deep root of dishonor which, if not checked, will grow into a major character flaw that will destroy every aspect of a person’s life.
As parents, we should not tolerate deceit in any form from our children. If left unchecked, it will be a major flaw in your child’s interactions with others.
This requires us as parents to be very alert to deceitful behavior at any age. Does your child embellish the truth? Do they tell you they are going one place, only to find they were not there at all? Do they tell you what they think you want to hear, and then do whatever they want to do? Some parents say, “Sure, my child lies occasionally…but he’s basically a good kid.
There IS no occasional lie. Even the smallest one belies an internal character flaw: a lack of honor and integrity. Their word not only means nothing…but worse, he does not care. At the Paul Anderson Youth Home, after the first instance of deceit, we may opt for counseling rather than punishment, to explain God’s principles of character and honor, and then issue a clear warning that there will be severe consequences if the behavior continues. If it does, we follow through with holding the young man accountable. By clearly communicating your standards and expectations, you can begin to develop a trust relationship based on their character. But if they are deceitful, there can be no trust, which is foundational to all relationships.
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