Parenting and Trust
We believe that there are three key components to parenting and trust:
A parent knows their child the best – to that end, we encourage parents to trust themselves. Listen to your body when it is telling you that something is wrong, then do something about it – act don’t yak.
What can a parent do if they sense a problem? Be aware of the values that are being compromised, set clear boundaries and consequences. Choose consequences that you will truly follow rather than lying to yourself about what you will do (trust yourself to know yourself). It is about being who you are rather than who you wish you would be. We can model this self trust for our children.
Building Trust with Your Kids:
In her book, the Big Disconnect, Catherine Steiner Adair says,
“Do what I say, not what I do tells your kids they can’t trust you. It is hard for children to believe in the integrity of what we say when our words and actions are out of sync.”
We build trust by doing what we say we will. We follow through with consequences. We show up when we say we will. Our actions match our words just as we expect of our children. When we respond with respect and leave the “reacting” out of it, our kids begin to trust us. We create the opportunity for dialogue – they know it is safe to talk to us about things that really matter.
Knowing how to respond when trust gets broken:
Children lie. It is often more about not letting us down and saving face than it is about being malicious. When it happens, we can seize the opportunity to teach our kids about honesty and trust rather than just sweeping it under the rug.
The easiest way to stop kids from lying is to stop asking questions when you already know the answer: Did you wash your hands? Did you flush the toilet? Did you brush your teeth? If you know that the answer is no, don’t ask the question; instead state the truth, “You need to go back into the bathroom and wash your hands. I will know they are clean when I can smell the soap on them.”
There is a strong relationship between trust and freedom: When I trust you to make good choices, you have the freedom to make those choices. When I see that you are having trouble making good choices, you are choosing to stay close to me so that I can watch the choices you make. When I trust your choices again, you will have more freedom.
When your child lies – speak openly about it, provide consequences and an opportunity for your child to make amends. Then, allow your child to earn back your trust.
Take a good look in your home – if trust and honesty are important, be sure that you are walking the walk. Are you lying in the home? Are you making excuses for your child’s lying? Model honesty and hold your child accountable. This will build the trust in your loving family.