As parents we only want our children to be good people, full of good feelings and values, and among this last category, the value of telling the truth in children is very important. Although adults know the consequences of lying, we know that the same does not happen with children, and that is where we must act to ensure that it does not become a habit that threatens themselves.

The value of telling the truth in children must be instilled from an early age, not only with words and advice, but also by making us, as parents, their best example. As the child psychologist Juan Pedro Valencia explains, children manage the value of telling the truth in several stages.

From 0 to 3 years: At this stage and generally up to the age of 6, children do not fully distinguish between reality and fantasy. Until age 3, lies are not intentionally told; everything they say to them is true and that is enough.

3 to 5 years: lying is part of their fantasy world—as happens with imaginary friends—for example. In general, at this age lying is connected to their world of games. In some cases, it is likely that they begin to lie by imitation and constantly, being very easy for parents to detect.

From 5 years: from this age the child is already able to discern and lie consciously. And as happens with any child, it is possible that they always tell the odd lie, however when it becomes a frequent habit, it serves to discover underlying personality problems such as: anger, insecurity or fear that they seek to avoid through lying.

On the other hand, the psychologist Valencia explains that there are many ways to detect when a child does not tell the truth. The easiest signs to identify by parents or adults in their environment, is the change in verbal and non-verbal language such as restlessness, averted gaze, lower tone of voice and contradiction in their speech.

Likewise, Valencia assures that all parents instinctively repeat to their children that they should always tell the truth, however, other actions are needed for the little ones to internalize this value, such as:

Give the example: If as parents we force children to lie—asking them to deny us if someone calls us on the phone, for example—and then in another situation we demand the child to tell the truth, without a doubt we are giving him elements to antagonize us when we ask for honesty .

Explain the difference between truth and lies: this step should be done from his early years, explaining everything in simple language. As it grows it is pertinent to adjust the explanations.

Give them our trust: children must know that they can count on their parents, even when they are wrong and that far from judging or punishing them we will try to help them.

Instilling the value of telling the truth in children is a challenge that every parent must take on, using the best tools at their disposal. The most important thing is that the child understands that lies always have consequences. and that it should not be resorted to as a habit.