Learning to tell the truth
In the same way, a little child must be taught to tell the truth. When a four-year-old comes in with a story of how Billy took his overshoes and hid them, his mother can look at him with a twinkle in her eye and say, “Come on, Bob, what really happened?” Sometimes the imagination of little children runs away with them, and they mix up truth and fantasy. Mother can enjoy the story with them but let them know that she thinks it is only a story.
Parents must be careful during the pre-school years to help a child learn to tell the truth. Sometimes they force the truth from a child about something that has happened and then punish him for his share in it. In this way he does not learn to tell the truth, but rather that it is best to avoid telling the truth if possible, so that he may escape punishment. This does not mean that parents must not show disapproval if a child tells them of something he should not have done, but it is wiser at this point to show the child how he might have acted in a better way. Sometimes the methods of parents actually teach a child to tell falsehoods to avoid punishment, and the child develops the habit of trying “to get by” or of “blaming” someone else. Both of these are undesirable habits. (End)