Honesty in Childhood and Emotional Intelligence

Sincerity is one of the values that all parents would like to pass on to their children in order to increase their emotional intelligence. How can they do it, though?
Honesty in Childhood and Emotional Intelligence
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Honesty in childhood is important for the development of emotional intelligence. For example, when a child breaks a plate, their parents quickly scold them. As a consequence, the child decides to lie in the future to avoid scolding. The climate this parent just created is negative because their child just learned that sincerity leads to pain. Children don’t like to be scolded and punished.

What can parents do? Well, firstly, you must know that promoting values, such as sincerity during childhood, is quite enriching for children. So much so that it increases their emotional intelligence. So, you must create a positive environment in order to teach the right lesson when a child has an accident or makes a mistake, or doesn’t want to do something. One in which problems you both can talk and negotiate and keep every unwanted situation from turning into a huge drama.

The above was just the classic example of a broken plate. However, there are many situations in which a child may think they’ll only win if they lie when they don’t want to eat something or don’t feel like doing their homework.

“Use pain as a stepping stone, not a camp ground.”

-Alan Cohen-

A man who lacks emotional intelligence.

How honesty in childhood helps reinforce emotional intelligence

A child boosts their self-esteem through honesty, and this is why it’s important for parents, adults, or guardians to avoid resorting to lies in order to redirect behavior.

As children grow older, they learn the difference between a lie and the truth. They can discern that many of the lessons they learned from their parents weren’t honest. Thus, they understand that they can lie as a means to achieve their goals.

Furthermore, a child is already capable of being skeptical about certain statements adults make from the age of five. As you can see, this is the critical moment in which they’ll model themselves around you. This becomes even more important around the age of eight. This is because they begin to separate unintentional lies from deception.

It’s difficult to turn back once they begin to distinguish the possibilities of lying without understanding the damage they can cause. Human beings are great at not seeing what they don’t want to see. This is why it’s important to know certain elements to help children follow the path of sincerity. You must do so by accepting their mistakes and understanding their limitations.

Keys to teaching the value of honesty during childhood for the development of emotional intelligence

Including assertiveness in children’s education is one of the best methods for them to learn the value of honesty. You can teach them that people have the right to claim the truth, that nobody should allow anyone to manipulate them, and to run away from liars. Furthermore, in their natural evolution, children learn to differentiate between good and bad, take responsibility for their mistakes, find alternatives to overcome obstacles, and achieve their goals. Above all, they learn from love and sensible understanding.

Don’t judge

Children, especially young ones, don’t do anything with bad intentions. Thus, constantly judging them blocks the possibility of reasoning, reflecting, and analyzing any hidden motives that perhaps escape you. What’s behind their lie? Study the situation and talk to the little one without being judgmental.

Practice active listening

Listen to your children attentively. This is a great way to understand them better. If you do this, you’ll be able to discern whether they’re lying, imagining stories, or are trying to fib.

Assertive corrections

You’ll have to scold your children on many occasions. This is normal and should be a part of their education. You must do so assertively, though. This is a better strategy because the child will better internalize it and think before they act in the future.

Positive reinforcement

It’s very important to do so when the child behaves well and reward them and tell them how much you like them when they act this way. This is a way to increase the odds that they’ll repeat this behavior or others like it while reducing negative ones.

A man high-fiving a child.

Childhood and emotional intelligence – you’re your child’s role model

Adults, parents, and guardians are an example for children to follow. Thus, it’s no use teaching them one thing when you do the opposite. Therefore, be the example of the sincerity you’re trying to instill in a child.

Keep in mind that children tend to imitate authority figures like their parents, teachers, and older siblings, above all. Always keep this in mind and act responsibly when you’re in front of your child.

Finally, honesty in childhood boosts emotional intelligence. Thus, you have to let your child be in touch with their emotions and know themselves well if you want them to be self-sufficient, responsible, and confident.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Giráldez Hayes, A., Prince, E.M. (2017). Habilidades para la vida: Cómo aprender a ser y aprender a convivir en la escuela. Madrid: Ediciones SM – Biblioteca Innovación Educativa.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.