PREVENT CHILDHOOD LYING, CHEATING, AND STEALING
Honesty is a serious childhood subject and you will need to show your child that you are serious about it. As dishonesty problems arise, stop everything, sit down, and talk - not lecture - to your child. Find out the cause to prevent him from being in a position to lie, cheat, or steal again. Children tend to go along with the crowd a lot, so try the following ideas to prevent your child from harming other people and himself.
FOR A SOLID MORAL FOUNDATION:
Teach taking other people's feelings into consideration and teach helpfulness.
Make sure your child experiences lots of respect and affection among family and friends so he has respect and affection to give back.
Be firm, not stern, fair, and consistent in your discipline. Your reasoning about right and wrong sets important standards. Praise your child for little deeds of truthfulness and honest behavior.
Most children will lie if telling the truth will result in punishment. Young children tell "half-truths." They should be told "I don't think it happened that way and remember, lying is wrong," but a huge moral issue should not be made. Older children should be taught that lying destroys trust and should have to provide a plan that regains your trust. Lying is many times a way for your child not to accept rules. Discussions, not war, about rules with "give and take" may secure more cooperation and eliminate a lot of lying.
Never accept a "good" reason that would make your child think cheating is acceptable. Teach that cheating is like stealing things he does not have. Make your child give back the grade or anything else gained by cheating. Also, teach your child to be a good sport. Bad sports try to win at games and sports by cheating. Work on self-improvement rather than on beating and winning. Compliment your child when he is giving lots of effort or doing well but not necessarily winning or making top grades.
Greed is the basis for much stealing. When you talk about money and possessions, make sure you stress that you admire the people involved because of their hard work, not just for their material things. Talk about trust when your child has stolen. Ask "How long would it take for you to trust someone who stole from you?" Any item stolen must be returned by your child or paid for by your child if used up. Insist that your child join a group that works on community projects. He should experience what it is like to give instead of take. Remember, all lying, cheating, and stealing by school-age children should have a penalty in addition to the basic corrections mentioned above. Children should not "use" and abuse other people and "come out even." However, punish in a spirit that says "You are a good person and I have faith that you will do the right thing next time."