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 is imaginary or make-believe, 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.
  • Help your child avoid getting into situations where she feels a lie is needed. 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 she is about to get into trouble. To avoid this situation, you could simply say, ‘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 admiration or respect from others. If this is happening often, you might want to consider using more praise to boost your child’s self esteem.
  • Ensure that you have clear rules set out about what is acceptable behaviour in your home. Children are more likely to behave if there clear rules outlined. 
  • 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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