The ABCs (Absolute Basic Criteria) for Raising Spiritually Sensitive Children – Part 10
The Bible provides sufficient principles for child rearing, but it does not give us a detailed blueprint for every action. Let’s keep in mind that God’s Word speaks clearly of the righteous goal for parenting: “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
It is my desire to show you the practical side of biblical truth. There is no greater joy than to see your children grown, serving the Lord and raising your grandchildren with the same biblical goal of holiness.
T is for Truth
“I didn’t do it!”
Instilling the value of honesty into your child is, for sure, critical to their moral fiber.
Your concern is that your stinky 3-year-old, who was supposed to be potty-trained a year ago, is trying to convince you that “he didn’t do it!” He seems very confident that you will believe the lie, regardless of what your nose is telling you. Is he going to grow up to be a habitual and pathological liar? Well, this is largely determined by how you handle the situation.
First of all, it’s time to explain to that stinky little guy what the difference is between the truth and the lie, and why it is always better to tell the truth.
Most children are easily encouraged to tell the truth because they are highly aware of your positive reaction to their honesty. You do have a positive reaction to honesty, don’t you? That is good place to start. Always encourage honesty by reacting positively to the truth, no matter how stinky the truth is.
A child will quickly pick up on the idea that your love is conditional and that, before you ask the question, you already have a desired response of “I didn’t do it.” Actually you should only desire the truth, rather than an expected outcome of a situation. Your love must always prove to be unconditional.
Your expectations will tempt your child to lie and tell you what you want to hear, rather than the ugly truth of the situation.
It is possible that your expectations are so high that your child will grow to create many stories just to keep you happy. Especially when they are old enough to realize that your ideals are impossible to live up to. By the time they become teens, their dishonesty has become a bad habit that is now a regular part of their people-pleasing personality.
Tips for Truth:
1. Model truth. Your kids are watching and listening. Don’t lie!
2. Expect truth. Explain that you are not afraid of the real story and that you expect them to fess up.
3. Love Always. A child who feels loved will not be afraid to tell the truth.
4. Truth Trusts. Explain to your child that you trust them to tell you the truth, and that they can, in turn, trust you to tell them the truth.
5. Be true! Keep your promises to your child.
6. Be understanding. Kids make mistakes, and so do you. Give them grace to fix the lie and change it to truth. We call it a do-over. When it’s done, then let it go. Forgive them for lying to you.
7. True power. Teach them the power of truth and how it is pleasing to God.
8. Don’t label. Never call your child a liar. I don’t care how often they lie. Don’t do it! Remind them that God didn’t create them to be liars, and He can help them to be brave enough to face the truth in every situation.
9. Don’t ask. Avoid the question, “Are you telling me the truth?” This doesn’t encourage truth-telling. It just suggests the message that you think your child doesn’t tell the truth. The question is hurtful.
10. Make amends. When the child denies lying, instead of quizzing and trying to force them to tell the truth, simply tell them what they need to do to make amends, and expect that it will get done.
Place your right hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.
The truth matters to the judge, the jury and to God. T is for Truth, for lots of very good reasons. Train true truth!
Read more of these great tips from the series.
Trina Titus Lozano, mother of four grown children and grandmother of nine, is a former professor of home economics at Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, and the creator of The Home Experience Semester Course. The daughter of Devi and Larry Titus, Trina is the author of Wait, the Smart Choice Abstinence Education for Public Schools, and the vice president of Wonderful Days, a nonprofit organization based in Fort Worth, Texas. Trina is a counselor, cognitive therapist and popular inspirational speaker at public schools nationwide. She has been recognized by the state of Texas premarital counseling program, Twogether in TEXAS. Trina is the author of The ABCs, Absolute Basic Criteria for Raising the Next Christian Generation, and is an ordained Christian minister. She is open and candid, and her messages apply to real-life issues. Trina and her husband, James (since 1983), reside in Colleyville, Texas.