Imagine that a child breaks a plate and, quickly, his father or mother runs to scold him. After that, the child decides to lie to avoid the scolding. The atmosphere that is created may end up being unsustainable, and the sincerity in childhood is gradually lost, because children, as well as elders, do not like to receive punishments and reprimands for every mistake they make.
What can we do? First of all, know that promoting values, such as sincerity in childhood, is very positive for children. So much so that it improves even the emotional intelligence of the little ones. Therefore, in order to prevent children from lying when they make a mistake or when they don’t want to do something, it is necessary to create a positive climate, in which problems can be exposed and discussed, and each unwanted situation does not turn into a drama.
Here we mention the classic example of the broken plate. However, there are many situations in which a child may think that he or she is earning more by lying than by telling the truth. When he doesn’t want to eat something, when he doesn’t feel like doing his homework, when he doesn’t want to go to sleep…
How sincerity in childhood helps to strengthen emotional intelligence
Through sincerity, the child also strengthens his or her self-esteem. That is why it is important that, as parents, adults, or guardians, we do not use lies to direct their behaviour.
As the child gets older, she learns the difference between the lie and the truth. At this point, she can realise that many of the lessons she received from her parents were not true. Thus, they understand that they, and by extension the adult world of which their parents are a reference, approve of lying as a means to achieve goals.
From the age of five, the child is already capable of being sceptical about certain statements that we can make. Therefore, we are at a critical moment when they will have us as role models. And this will be even more important after the age of eight, when they correctly separate intentional error from deception.
Once they begin to distinguish the possibilities of lying without at the same time understanding the damage this can cause, it can be difficult to go back: human beings have very powerful mental mechanisms to avoid seeing what they do not want to see. Therefore, it is important to know some elements that we can implement so that children follow the path of sincerity, accepting their mistakes and limitations.
Keys to teaching the value of sincerity in childhood
Including assertiveness in children’s education is one of the best methods for them to learn the value of sincerity. We can teach them that they have the right to claim the truth, that no one can lie to them or try to manipulate them.
Furthermore, in their natural evolution, the child learns to differentiate between good and bad, assumes their failures, finds alternatives to overcome obstacles and achieve goals and, above all, learns with love and sensitive understanding. For this, it is recommended:
Do not judge
Children, especially when they are very young, do nothing with bad intentions. If we judge continuously, we will block the possibility of reasoning, reflecting and analyzing if there are hidden reasons that we may not notice. What is behind the lie? Before judging, let’s study the situation and talk to the child.
It is interesting to listen to the child carefully, without impulsiveness. In this way, we will understand him better and we will be able to analyse whether he is lying, imagining stories or has a different intention.
On many occasions, we will need to correct the child. It is normal, it is part of their education. But we have to be assertive, so that the little one internalises better and thinks before acting on future occasions.
It is always important to use positive reinforcement. When the child acts correctly and sincerely, we should reward him/her by showing how much we like to see him/her doing what is right. In this way, we increase the probability that the child will repeat this behaviour or others that go in the same direction, while reducing the probability of incompatible behaviour.
For better or worse, you are your children’s model
Remember that as adults, parents and guardians, we are models to be followed by children. It will be useless to say one thing if we do not act according to this lesson. Therefore, when it comes to teaching, the best option is to do so by setting the example that the child needs.
You must not forget that children tend to imitate authority figures, i.e. their parents, teachers and older siblings in particular. We should always keep this responsibility in mind when acting in front of a child.
Remember that sincerity in childhood strengthens emotional intelligence. If you want your children to be self-sufficient, responsible and self-confident, it is very necessary that they know their own emotions well.