Easy Ways to Build Assets for and with Your Child
ASSET #29: Honesty Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when they are able to tell the truth even when it is not easy.
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Acknowledging Acts of Honesty
e’re home!” your teenager and his best friend say.
When you ask how the movie was, they both say great. When you ask what they saw, they each give you different answers. “You know, I’d never cheat,” your daughter once told you. But you notice that she brought home a test with a perfect score and you know she didn’t study or know the material well enough. Unfortunately, cheating and dishonesty are more prevalent in our children than we would like. In a survey of 3,370 high school students, about 9 out of 10 said that cheating is common at their school. The number one reason for cheating: It’s not a big deal. Yet according to Search Institute, honesty is a big deal. Of youth surveyed, 67% say they believe it is important to tell the truth even when it is not easy. And there’s a difference between girls and boys: 73% of girls say they value honesty, whereas only 60% of boys do. To instill the value of honesty, we need to
What Are Assets?
Assets are 40 values, experiences, and qualities that help kids succeed. “Honesty” is one of six positivevalues assets. * Based on Search Institute surveys of 217,277 6th- to 12th-grade youth throughout the United States during the 1999–2000 school year.
Modeling Honesty Tips for modeling honesty for your child: • Correct the situation immediately when clerks give you too much change. • Be honest in talking to telemarketers. Instead of hanging up or making an excuse, just say, “No, thank you. We’re not interested.” Then hang up. • Admit when you’ve fudged the truth and apologize. • Brainstorm ways to be honest in a particularly sticky situation, such as breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
talk about it, model it, and explain why honesty is an important value. Honest people are trustworthy, sincere, and genuine people. Honesty is a value worth having.
time tog et her Three ways to he lp your child va lue honesty: Encourage each family member to make a personal commitment to tell the truth. H onestly acknowledge feel ings. Honestly admit to succes ses and mistake s. Don’t overreact when your child lies to you. Child ren will lie if they fear your reaction. Work together to come up with family rules abou t honesty and the consequences for dishonesty.
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Watch What You Do... and Say
Quick Tip: Be an example of honesty for your children .
esearchers Svenn Lindskold and Pamela S. Walters found that college students said some lies were more permissible than others if they saved others from embarrassment, shame, or hurt. In fact,
many people (children and adults alike) tell small lies regularly, such as saying you feel fine when you don’t, making up an excuse to get rid of someone annoying, fibbing about your age or weight, and distorting the truth so that you don’t hurt someone’s feelings. As a parent, how do you feel about these kinds of lies? What do you teach your children about honesty and lying in these situations?
When You Suspect Your Child Is Lying Don’t accuse your child. Instead, ask: “Do you think I believe you right now?” Or, “Do you think I might be struggling with believing you right now?” Give your child the opportunity to tell the truth.
talk tog ether Questions to discuss with your child: • What would you do if so meone asked you to be dishonest? • Do you find it easy or hard to be honest with yourself? Why? • Do you see dishonesty in advertising? Where? • How can we make hone sty our family policy?
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es 13 s by Jonni Kincher. For ag Lie t ou ab ok Bo st ne The First Ho honesty as a ages readers to develop and up, this book encour ght-provoking amples, games, and thou ex h ug ro th lue va l na perso Free Spirit.) questions. (Published by
“Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?” —Cicero
This newsletter and other asset resources are produced by Search Institute, www.search-institute.org; 800-888-7828. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005 by Search Institute. Major support for Search Institute’s Healthy Communities • Healthy Youth initiative is provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.