Raising Honest Kids

6 strategies for instilling integrity in your children

Every day some headline screams out details of the latest scandal: A best-selling author's accused of plagiarism; a leading coach fudges on his résumé; a corporate executive's caught embezzling funds. Is it any wonder our kids are confused about truth? Why shouldn't they lie? It seems as though everyone else does!

A nationwide teen character study released by the nonprofit Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics found 7 in 10 students surveyed admitted to cheating on a test at least once in the past year, and nearly half said they'd done so more than once. Overall the Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth disclosed that 92 percent of the 8,600 students surveyed lied to their parents. In addition, 78 percent said they'd lied to a teacher, and more than 1 in 4 said they'd probably lie to get a job.

Our culture's standard for integrity seems to be: It doesn't matter if you shade the truth as long as no one gets hurt and you don't get caught. God's standard is: Do what's right even when no one is looking and no one will find out. What can we do to raise kids with God's standard for integrity? Here are six suggestions:

Model Honesty

I'm often tempted to exaggerate. But in striving to raise honest kids, I've had to face my weakness. I've asked my children to tell me if I'm exaggerating. On more than one occasion, they have! It's so easy to exaggerate or use "white lies" for convenience's sake, such as requesting your child tell a telephone caller you're not home when you are.

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May 25

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