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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 10 CHAPTER 1 encourage a child to recover from a fall quickly without inconveniencing us, while in fact the child definitely feels pain. Failing to acknowledge a child’s legitimate feelings is a form of dishonesty. It would be better to say, “I know falling hurts, but let me help you stand so I can check your hurt.” Another example of mild, yet significant, parental dishonesty is when parents sneak away from home or child care drop-off without saying good-bye because they wish to avoid a tearful and challenging scene. This is an understandable choice, as it is not easy to deal with an upset and clingy child. But what message does it communicate to the child? It is better to face the departure with honesty and help children learn to accept the process of separation. Children honestly need to know what we expect from them and what they can expect from us. Integrity Related to honesty, integrity is the quality of having strong moral principles and values that guide one’s decisions and actions regardless of circumstances. People with high integrity make decisions consistently in line with their values and do what they say they will do, opting not to cut corners or slough off responsibili- ties even when they might face an easy opportunity to do so without penalty or consequence. Young children form their first unconscious impressions of integrity through observing the behaviors of parents, caregivers, and teachers. Adults demonstrate integrity in small but significant ways when we do things like stop consistently at stop signs, even when no one is watching, or walk the extra few steps to place the soda can in the recycling bin rather than the more convenient trash can. We can support children in their development of integrity by starting early with providing them opportunities to practice simple decision making. Decision making empowers children by giving them a sense of control. It also lets them gradually develop awareness of their reasons for making a certain choice, not to mention the consequences that any given choice might have. For example, if you choose to play at the water table, your sleeves will most likely get wet. If you flip the lunch plate upside down, your food gets mangled and mixed up. When chil- dren make “good” choices, caregivers can reinforce their choice by praising them and verbally noting the positive consequences. When they make “bad” choices, caregivers can let them experience the negative consequences, including our disapproval. Some young children will be highly motivated by the desire for an adult’s approval but, given time and experience, will eventually mature into find- ing inner motivation for doing what is right. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL