• Okay, I admit it. I test people all the time. It’s the only way I know to build trust. I do it with people from work, my friends and even family members. I don’t mean to be offensive and I don’t care whether they’re blood related or not. I just know that anyone can turn out to be either a good person or bad. Hence, everyone needs to earn my trust. I’m pretty sure we all do it.

    With my own children, I give them small tasks to gage their level of responsibility and honesty. For example, my ten year-old son, took ten dollars from me two weeks ago for a school trip which, ended up being cancelled on account of rain. It was never rescheduled and I waited to see how long it would take him to return the money. He never said anything and probably figured that I forgot. Mind you, I am forgetful, but not when it comes to money. I eventually approached him and asked him what happened with the money. At first, he played it off and said that he forgot. Then he changed his story and said that he was going to hold on to it for the next trip. I called him on it and explained to him the importance of being honest. He apologized but I took a mental note of his dishonesty.

    With all my children I try to reward their honesty immediately as that’s the best way to insure their behavior will be repeated. If they go grocery shopping for me and return the correct amount of money, then I’ll often allow them to keep the change. It’s simple positive reinforcement for them and hopefully teaches them good financial practices for their future. Plus, it helps me build confidence in them so I can trust them with larger amounts of money and more financial responsibilities in the future. Of course, there are no guarantees that their honesty will endure. However, over a period of time they’ll at least learn that honesty pays!