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Teaching Your Children Honesty | Stories and Books about Honesty

Updated on October 18, 2012

Children learn from examples, and given the examples of dishonesty they encounter every day in the world around them, teaching a child about honesty can be a challenging task. A parent can only effectively teach or guide a child if he or she has worked on developing an open, honest and close relationship with their children, constantly getting feedback about the child’s behaviour. Only then, the parents can exert powerful influence on the child and teaching honesty bears desired results. Below are some guidelines on how to teach your child honesty.

1. Be Honest with your children

Before teaching honesty emerges as an issue in the household, it helps if the parent is setting the example from the start – be an honest parent to your children. Show the child how being honest brings less trouble than otherwise. Never let them hear you tell little “convenient lie” on the phone and never ask them to tell one for you, like “My mommy isn’t home”. When they ask questions, answer truthfully unless it is a question that is off-limits. In that case, honestly tell them why you cannot answer it.

2. Give praise and the opportunity to “start over”

Don’t be too quick to reprimand children in lie. Instead, try to catch them telling the truth and praise them for it. If they do begin to tell a lie, interrupt them and say, “Wait, think for a minute. Remember it always work out better to tell the truth.” Then, let them start over.

3. Show them the Consequences

Show the children the cause-and-effect of honesty and dishonesty. Read a story, watch a movie, and talk about a situation in real life where a dishonest act was performed. Discuss with them the consequences to both the party that lied and the party that has been lied to. Talk to them about how one lie leads to another lie, and how the liars feel about themselves. Also talk about the positive consequences such as inner peace, confidence and self-respect gained by the honest individual.


Story Books about Honesty and Other Values

The Children's Book of Virtues

I adored this book.  There are classic stories and poems that teach a series of moral values, such as the Honest Woodman and St. George and the Dragon, beautifully illustrated with colourfully drawn paintings.  Each story starts with a brief description of the lesson that should be learned. Before my son can read, he liked me to read them aloud to him again and again. It's a great one to own.  I also read the poems to my son until he can memorize some of them. It's a classic.


The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories

In this book, William J. Bennett carefully collected hundreds of stories that will help children understand and develop character, and help adult to teach them.  This book has brought so much pleasure to me as it did to my son.   Complete with instructive, introductions and notes, this book is a great book which the whole family can read and enjoy, and learn from, together.

Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big

This comic strip book is kid’s favourite! Fudwupper's big brother, "Edwurd", is the biggest liar alive. One day, one of his lies goes so far and so fantastic that it sends everyone, including a dogcatcher, the air force and an upset creature from "just two galaxies down" – into a panic. Has the damage been done? Will Edwurd face the punishment? Read the book, and find out. The wonderful illustrations and text in the book make a laugh-out-loud story for kids and adults.


Some of the great stories about Honesty available online

George Washington and The Cherry Tree

George Washington chopped down his father’s favourite cherry tree when he was 6 years old. His father reacted positively to his honest behaviour. Read more...

The Magic Coins

There was once a rich and kindly old man who, reaching the end of his days, decided to leave his possessions to some honest and intelligent young man. Speaking of this decision, he told a good friend that he wanted to choose wisely. The friend advised him,

“The next time you sell something, and are giving the customer their change, make sure you give them too much. The customer who returns the extra money to you, you will know that they are honest”. Read more...


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    • profile image

      bedtime stories 5 years ago


      Also check for short bedtime stories that can be customized!

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Thank you, Tony. Yes, children certainly need to learn the value of being honest.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      Very useful and important stuff - teaching children to be honest is so necessary in a world where the opposite is too often practiced.

      Thanks for sharing these ideas.

      Love and peace


    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Naim Hassan, thanks for reading. Yes, more parents need to spend longer time at workplace nowadays, even the mothers. Sad but true, but many of them do not have choice, since living expenses have sky rocketed. I do hope, when they have time, they do spend quality time with their kids. It's the quality, not quantity that counts.

    • Naim Hasan profile image

      Naim H 6 years ago from Dhaka

      yeah we used to listen stories of prophets and saints, and their honesty from our grandparents and other family members. but now working parents have got little time to spend with their kids. great hub, thanks

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Thanks, mathan. I will check out your hub now. :)

    • mathan42 profile image

      mathan42 7 years ago

      nice hub....looking forward to more hubs from you....check out my hubpage at and give your views.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Dear Jillian, what an interesting experience you had with honesty. You should write a hub on that !

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Jillian Barclay 7 years ago from California, USA

      Great hub! I am a grandma now, but raised my kids to all be honest-to this day, I always say my biggest virtue is honesty, but honesty is also my biggest flaw. I cannot tolerate dishonesty, even when it comes to keeping a job. Many years ago, I saw fraud being committed and reported it. I was out of work for 3 years because I raised a stink. The employer black-balled me in my field and it took 3 years to overcome this. No one wanted to hire someone who might turn them in to the FBI. Finally found an even better job-stayed there almost 10 years. I guess my point is: honesty is one of the most important things you must teach your children, but also teach them that sometimes there is a price you must be willing to pay for that honesty. I would not change a thing about speaking up. I know I saved lives and that is the best!

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Thanks, Jason. Indeed, those are really good books to own.

    • jasonycc profile image

      jasonycc 7 years ago from South East Asia

      Teaching our children about honesty is indeed a very challenging task. You have included a very good selection of books. I am planning to get those when my son is old enough to understand them. Thank you very much.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Thanks for visiting, Ah Kheng. Yes, with parents spending less time with the children nowadays, dishonesty has become an issue of concern.

    • profile image

      Ah Kheng 7 years ago

      You have written a very good article. Nowadays many children grow up and behave dishonestly , that bring problems to our society everyday.

      All parents must read your article plus the good books you have recommended.Well done Ingenira !

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Thanks, KoffeeKlatch Gals and thanks for recommending the other 2 funny books.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Ingenira, you have included some very good books. I also like the books "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire" and "Tell a Lie and Your Nose Will Grow". They both teach about honesty in a funny way. Great hub.