Is dishonesty from your son driving you M.A.D.? Don’t let it or him go. Teach your son the principles of honesty.
We are not experts, just parents.
Do you grow weary of dealing with dishonesty in your home?
- Boys that give any answer other than the truth?
- Give you a look like you are crazy for expecting the truth?
- Make you feel crazy?
Dishonesty that festers between two people is M.A.D.
Mutual Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) is a military strategy where two opposing sides are strong and powerful that a war between the two results in complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender.
It’s like this with dishonesty. When nothing is resolved and you go to war with each other, the end result is destruction for both.
So what’s the problem with not addressing issues of dis-honesty and just letting it go? Isn’t his problem anyway, since he is the one who is dishonest?
Answer: There are long-term consequences that will harm your son(s) if we do not take action.
In our experience, and it is not over, there are some approaches that work and some that do not. The approach will depend on your son(s) personality type, age, and history of consequences from past dishonesty. Only you can determine how far to go with him and the best approach.
Here are some ways we have addressed and continue to address the exhausting battle of dishonesty.
- Get in his shoes. What is he trying to keep from happening to him? Does he fear a punishment from you and he wants to avoid it? This is pretty common. Punishment may be needed, but sitting down and getting to the root of what is happening without threatening punishment may be needed to help soften him to open up. It’s not easy for him to “eat crow”.
- Hold your own anger at bay while talking about his dishonesty. This one is really hard for me, since I’m so hard-headed. I want to charge forward, prove I’m right, he’s wrong, and in need of change. True, I may be right and he may need to change, but my aggressive attitude rarely helps him admit the truth. In fact, this causes male’s to dig down into the trench because we are warriors deep on the inside ready for a battle.
- Show him the short-term benefits of truth. When leaders explain why we need to do something instead of just telling us we need to follow/do something it gives you the opportunity to internalize instead of reject the counsel. Explain that honesty and integrity may provide reduced consequences, certain privileges, and the joy of knowing he has chosen the right path for the moment.
- Show him the long-term benefits of truth. Open the history books, family records, movies, books, etc. There are numerous examples where dishonesty stings the deceiver like a serpent. From the bible, we see Adam and Eve with their excuses, Cain covering his sin, Joseph’s brothers lying to Jacob, and Peter denying Jesus. In modern times, we see corporate executes such as those at Enron, former Presidents with their infidelity, along with many others too numerous to name.
- Punish him. That’s right. When diplomacy fails and he repeatedly exercises dishonesty then he should be punished. Don’t delay or think you are wrong in doing it. He needs to be punished according to your own wisdom. His future self may even thank you!
- Ask other parents. This one may be just so you don’t feel like you are the only one. Call up another parent (preferably one who has been through this season of parenting) and ask them how they dealt with dishonesty in their son.
You are not alone, and yes, he needs this core character trait to be developed. Don’t just take our word for it. Read What Boys Needs to Learn to Become Good Men from thrivingfamily.com
So how do you address dishonesty in your home? What works, what doesn’t work?
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