There is no playbook for parents when it comes to raising children. Sure, there are parenting guides and books written by experts on how you should raise your children. I won't get into my opinion about these "so called" experts because even those who have done studies on hundreds or, perhaps, even thousands of children, haven't tried to raise my child. I am not saying I have a difficult child because she isn't. But, just like every other child in this world, she is unique.
I think the idea of parenting is to try instill the same thoughts and beliefs you have into your child. Some of this process is through teaching them what you believe, some of it comes from surrounding them with people you think hold the same beliefs you do such as at church or other social clubs, and some of it is just from you doing what you do. Of course, children aren't stupid. They can see the hypocrisy if you say they can't smoke and you do, or if you say don't drink and you do. Setting a good example goes a long way. It did for me with my parents.
Even when you set a good example - and I am not talking about me in this particular instance - things aren't easy. Life is not black and white. We all have to find our way, and in most ways it is a very personal and lonely journey. If everything were black and white, we would believe those life tenets everyone has heard. Those myths our parents teach us like "Honesty is the best policy" and "Cheaters never prosper". Nice little jingles they are, but not very factual. Real life shows us that there are a lot of very powerful people in politics and business who lie and cheat. More applicable tenets might be, "If you are going to lie, lie well" or "Cheaters prosper, but bad cheaters suffer consequences".
I have always been a bad liar, so honesty IS my best policy. I was never very clever in ways that would make me a good cheater, so it would be true for me personally that I would never prosper as a cheater. It may be that I never practiced enough to come to these conclusions. It could be that I could be a very powerful, rich person if I had focused more on lying and cheating. I guess it was my parents' examples that led me to the conclusion that I should be honest.
As a parent, though, I think when we teach these things to our children - assuming we do - we really want them to be honest with us, and not cheat on us. A good example would be, let's say, that I caught my daughter smoking in the house. I personally don't like the idea of my daughter smoking, but I understand teenagers are going to try things. I would much rather her try smoking and drinking, than sex and drugs. I would want her to understand that I don't approve of these things because she is not old enough to do either, at least according to U.S. laws. But, I also understand that that first drink and that first puff is a rite of passage, usually at a time in our lives when we are trying to define ourselves. Getting caught, however, even if the cigarette is not in her hand, let's say, means manning up and having character enough to admit it. I would like to think my daughter could tell me that she was just trying it. My only point of confusion then would be as to why she couldn't find someplace a little more discrete.
I guess if I could teach my daughter one thing about lying and cheating, it would be this: Once you lie or cheat someone, trust is gone. It is unlikely you will easily gain that trust back, so be very sure you are ready for that new relationship with the person you lied to or cheated. With family, once you lose the trust, you still have the love; but with coworkers and friends, you have nothing left.