“Set a strict example of honesty in yourself. Holding your children to a standard that you are not willing to example is a futile effort. Do not allow yourself any room to be deceitful or manipulative. When you do fail, and you will, repent and make it right. Show your children that. Parenting God’s way is not for the proud, but for the humble,” she adds.

Embracing Truth

Lying damages relationships, which are founded on honesty. “The natural consequence of lying is that you damage relationships, which is another significant thing to teach our children about the importance of the truth,” explains Turansky.

“Point out example of people in the news or give real life examples (without names) of how lying has negatively affected their lives. There is nothing more powerful than a real life example a child can look at and say ‘I do not want to be like that!’” suggests Asbell.

Helping our children to embrace the truth in a culture that at times seems to celebrate deceitfulness can be a challenge, especially in the area of the so-called “white lies.” “We need to teach our children how to relate in socially awkward situations when the truth is at stake and white lies are more common,” says Turansky.

For example, your child attends a birthday party but did not have a good time overall. As he leaves the party, if he says he had a good time, that would be a lie. But saying he had a bad time would not be polite and probably hurt the birthday boy’s feelings. “What we need to do is to teach our children alternatives because these situations are putting them between a rock and a hard place,” says Turansky. “I would suggest there’s another place they can go and we should teach our children better responses.”

In the party example, you can teach your child to avoid the question of whether or not they enjoyed the party. Turansky recommends focusing on something positive, like the friendship, or on one aspect of the party the child enjoyed. “We need to look for something that we can say that’s affirming. Children need to learn how to be gracious without losing the truth,” says Turansky.

Overall, be vigilant when it comes to correcting lies your children tell. Asbell equates ignoring lying to letting weeds overtake your garden. “Weeds quickly grow out of control and take over. You may not think the weed is doing much damage, but it is hidden from you how the roots are slowly taking over the good plants and affecting what they can produce. If you ignore them until they are big issues it takes a lot more muscle to uproot them and damage is always done to the garden.”

Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer and editor, and author of Hired @ Home: The Christian Mother's Guide to Working From Home. She lives in Fairfax, Va., with her husband and four children. Visit her at www.sarahhamaker.com.