From the Christian Parenting Corner
Why Teaching Your Child to Lie Will Come Back to Bite Youby Sylvia Cochran
While the holidays are a time of giving, they are also a time of lying. As a matter of fact, you probably taught your child to lie just this last December! Don't believe me? Read on.
Christian Parents Don't Teach Their Kids to Lie … Or Do They?
Lying is usually understood to involve intentional falsehood, but there are also other forms of lying that do not require any words. God recognizes the following "habits" as being part of lying:
Do any of these behaviors ring true in your life? If so, you are guilty of lying and -- by extension -- of teaching your children to lie as well.
Well, My Kids Don't Lie
Ah, but they do! New York Magazine (1) quoted an interesting study that showed a number of eye opening trends:... (Continued below)…
Continued from above.
If you do not catch your child in a lie, it is because a) s/he is too young (lying usually starts at 3 or 4) or b) you do not pay attention to what your child says, does or fails to say and do. A third choice might involve an overly calloused heart on your part, which fails to recognize your own, much less your child's, lying.
Still Think White Lies Are Okay? Think Again!
You may be tempted to still defend your white lies with the notion that they avoid unnecessary conflict and specifically do not contribute to hurt feelings. Yet while you pat yourself on the back for sparing your neighbor's feeling about the sweater, your faith is compromised and your witness to your children is damaged. 1 Timothy 1:19 admonishes the faithful to keep a clear conscience because the willful violation of this sense of right and wrong shipwrecks the faith.
So what should you do when your neighbor shows off her ugly sweater?
Children will model their behavior after yours. The preschooler or preteen you are parenting today will become the teen, who will be faced with numerous temptations to lie and conceal. Will the child assuage a bruised conscience with the notion that s/he is protecting you from a truth you couldn't handle? Will s/he rationalize that making a promise and keeping it are two different actions that may not always work in concert? Perhaps the teen will compromise (and shipwreck a budding faith) by arguing that you most likely do not want to learn the truth about any transgression, dire consequence or problem at hand.
Change is Simple
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Give your word carefully, but once you do, follow up and follow through - no matter what. Put God first and eradicate hypocrisy from your daily walk. When (not if) you fail, confess your sin and apologize to your child. When s/he sees you taking honesty seriously, s/he is much more likely to do so as well.