Practicing Self-Honesty

Excerpts from ABC House Counselor, Greg Warburton’s book, Ask More, Tell Less: A Practical Guide for Helping Children Achieve Self-Reliance

Human lives lived well are rooted in developing the ability to mentally and emotionally self-manage. To achieve this state of living, self-honesty is the starting place. If you want your children to become independent and self-reliant navigators of their lives, it is absolutely necessary to teach them how to practice self-honesty. I ask every young person I meet: Who do you think is the most important person to begin telling the truth to?

Self-honesty lays the foundation for self-managing throughout life because it brings to our consciousness the thoughts and feelings we are having in a
particular moment. When a young person can admit what she is experiencing, she gains the personal power to fix the trouble spots in her life. This is especially important as your children work to navigate different situations, such as upcoming family visits.  If there are trouble spots, you can take the pressure off yourself by challenging them to do some of their own thinking and deciding about how they will behave.

Let go of the need to always know why your child does what he does. Instead, change your purpose to exploring what you can do to help him manage an upsetting situation or change a troubling behavior. You can do this by asking your child Who, What, How and When questions instead of Why. Try beginning any question using this preface to encourage self-honesty: “When you tell yourself the truth…how do you think you handled that situation?”

Give it a try!