You asked

How do I encourage honesty in my school child?

Once your child is old enough to understand the difference between truth and non truth, it's good to encourage them to always opt for the truth:
  • If your child is telling you something that they have conjured up from their imagination then it’s ok to go along with it. Pretending and imagining are both important for your child’s development. For instance, if your child tells you that she’s a super hero you could ask her what super-powers she has.
  • Don’t give your child opportunities to lie. For instance, if you see that a glass has been broken. You could say to her ‘Did you break that glass?’ but she might lie and say no because she thinks you are going to get upset with her. Try saying instead, ‘I see there has been an accident, let’s clean it up’.  
  • If you notice that your child tells a lot of exaggerated stories, this can be a way of getting attention or admiration from others. If this is frequently happening, you might want to consider how much attention she is getting at home. Is it enough?
  • Ensure that you have clear rules set out about behaviour is and isn’t tolerated in your home. Your child will be more likely to behave if she knows there are clear rules she has to follow.
  • When your child owns up to something they have done wrong, praise her for her honesty. It's important your child knows that you won't get upset if she owns up to something.
  • Try to avoid calling your child a ‘liar’. By labelling her a liar this could impact on her self esteem or lead to even more lying.  

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