How to nurture honesty in your children?
Farhana loves her daughter Nusrat very much and wants everything best for her. She admitted her to the best pre-school in her locality. After her first day, when she asked Nusrat about the school, the little kid broke into tears. The panic-stricken mother asked what is the matter?
Nusrat said that the teacher said some terrible things to her. Farhana was shocked. Yet, she felt something is not right. After a little coaxing, Nusrat gave up and confessed that she made up the whole story. She even said that she hates going to school as other kids make her nervous.
Farhana understood she needs to upgrade her parenting approach and nurture truthfulness in her precious little Nusrat.
The above story states a simple fact, parenting is not at all easy. A good parent is someone who strives to act in the best interest of the child. He or she does not have to be perfect, but mindful and logical.
We have to help our kids so that they can develop the right habits. One of the best righteous habits is being honest and truthful. To nurture honesty we must remember that kids are gifts from the almighty Allah. They are the future of our Ummah.
“Wealth and children are the adornments of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds that last are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope.” [Surah Al-Kahf: 46]
Teaching your kids how to be truthful is a thoughtful task. Here are 6 ways to initiate the pedagogy.
1. Reward the truth to nurture honesty
In Holy Quran, we read about the importance of truth.
Ask ˹them, O Prophet,
“Can any of your associate-gods guide to the truth?” Say, “˹Only˺ Allah guides to the truth.” Who then is more worthy to be followed: the One Who guides to the truth or those who cannot find the way unless guided? What is the matter with you? How do you judge? [10:35]
We should inform our children about the same also. As parents, we often take action in scolding. But, sometimes we are not at all quick to praise. Reward your kids with lots of praise and hugs when they act honestly. Reward them for their truthfulness, let them understand that Allah almighty supports who speaks the truth. This attitude will build self-confidence which will reinforce positive behaviour and nurture honesty.
2. Speak the truth
Teach your children that they should not give false compliments. Neither should they accept one. If they cannot find a kind word to speak the truth about something, educate them to control and not say anything.
Speak the truth among each other. If your child finds out that you often lie to your partner, he or she will learn from it.
3. Don’t deny the harsh truth:
Upholding morals are important. A wrong deed is always wrong. For example, if your daughter’s friend is copying from her she has a duty to advise her to quit. Calling spade a spade is more important than thinking about hurting someone’s feelings who is out of line. Teach your kids to speak and endure the hard truth. Don’t mollycoddle them too much.
4. To nurture honesty be a role model
As I said earlier, you are the most important role model of your kids. So be careful while speaking in front of them. Live by the truth. If your kids see you telling even ‘harmless and little’ white lies, they will take it for granted. In fact, they will feel that it is perfectly alright to lie as well. The habit of small lies leads to the habit of telling big ones. So, you have the power to stop this vicious journey.
5. Correct mistakes and nurture honesty
Catching your kids being dishonest gives you a good opportunity to educate them. Firstly be calm, then ask why they felt like they needed to lie. Often kids lie out of fun or fear. Then explain to them how lying hurts relationships and causes mistrust. Teach them the importance of trust.
6. Find Honest Friends
Observe your kid’s friends. If they lie, your kid will be influenced. But if they are honest and upstanding, your kid will be that much better off. So, always be aware and keep an ear out for any of your kid’s friend who lies. Talk to the kid, in some cases talk to the parents also.
Children are beautiful and pure like young saplings. We should nurture them with care, morality and honesty. Only then we can provide a bright future generation for our Ummah.