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Beautiful Parenting in Africa: My Best Tip for Raising Honest Children

Meme Boham

I remember when my son had just turned three (3). I asked him if he had used the rest-room. His answer was in the affirmative but  I knew he hadn’t. That was his first lie.

He had wanted to play and using the restroom was always going to be a distraction.

I knew he had lied but I wasn’t sure how to handle it. Remember, the goal is to help him develop an honest lifestyle.

If I get upset and spank him to stop him from lying, all he learns is to never lie to me. But once the cane is removed, he will lie effortlessly.

Immediately, I got out all the education and parenting books I had. I also went online and researched about how to handle lying in children. I remember the most relevant post said,

‘Don’t set your child up to fail’.

If you know they haven’t done something, don’t ask them if they have just to see whether they will lie or not.

Instead of, ‘have you brushed your teeth?’ say, ‘Sweet heart ,let’s go and brush our teeth’. Since that day, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

He was four (4) last month. Recently, after preparing breakfast with him, I asked him,

“Have you brushed your teeth?

He replied,

‘Not yet. I’ll brush it after I’m done washing up’.

I said ‘Ok’ without realising that just less than a year ago I had adopted a method that I no longer have to use all the time.

Apart from not setting him up to fail, I also try not to lie to him. I try to explain the reason(s) why things need to be done. So far, even when he knows he will get into trouble, he still tells the truth.

The goal is for him to do the right thing because it is right and not because he is afraid of the cane or afraid of the punishment that will come.

Do you agree that setting up our children to fail will not help them to be truthful? What’s your preferred approach?

Meme Boham
Meme Boham
Wife, Mother, Childcare Scientist, Montessori Educationist and Leader. Meme Boham is a Passionate Teacher who is excited about the discovery of the potential in children when given the right response. She consults for parents, childcare workers and schools across Nigeria.

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