Earning Your Children’s Trust
March 30, 2017|Posted in: Happy, Healthy, Smart Kids!
Everyone wants their children to trust them and to believe the things they say. Some parents just take it for granted that their children have faith and confidence in them. Others wonder why their kids sometimes express doubt and fear about whether or not they can count on their parents in a given situation. This is certainly a topic of importance that warrents some careful consideration from parents. Parents who want to earn their children’s trust will follow these .
- Meet Their Needs
Trust begins when an infant is just minutes old. When they are cleaned up, wrapped up in a blanket and placed in their mother’s arms they begin to learn that their needs will be met. When a baby cries and it’s mother responds, it begins to understand trust. Infants who don’t have their needs (physical and emotional) met will develop reactive attachment disorder. Which put simply, means they don’t learn to trust their parents or caregivers and therefore have difficulty forming attachments.
Meeting our kid’s needs goes way beyond infancy though. While they’re little, we need to make sure they’re warm and clothed and fed and that they have things to play and learn and be entertained with. As they get older we help them figure out school, friends and life. They always need our hugs, our love, and our encouragement! Honestly it never ends, it’s just something we do for people we love. While our children do grow and learn to meet most of their own needs, even as adults they’ll need us from time to time.
- Tell the Truth
I’m not talking about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny (that’s a whole post for another time). I don’t mean you shouldn’t pretend to do magic or to be a fairy princess or a grumpy old grizzly bear (which obviously you’re not!). But tell your kids the truth. Don’t say you’ll give them a reward for doing something if you really don’t intend to follow through. We shouldn’t ever tell our kids we’re going to give them a reward if we don’t intend to follow through, nor should we promise consequences for doing something they shouldn’t, unless we really mean what we say.
A pet peeve of mine – when leaving kids with a babysitter, parents shouldn’t sneak out while they’re not looking. Likewise, we should always explain to our kids that we’re taking them to the doctor and that something might hurt for a minute but it will make them feel better in the long run. In short, parents should always be honest and truthful in order to earn their child’s trust.
- Keep Your Promises
This goes right along with “Tell the Truth” and is almost the same thing. However, it is more than just following through with positive or negative reinforcement. It’s very important for parents to give careful consideration to any promises they make. Before we promise we always need to stop and think if we’re promising something that is reasonable. Is it something we can realistically deliver?
Parents should always make sure their kids know when they’re talking about possibilities, or things that might happen someday, that you aren’t making promises.
Inevitably, parents won’t be able to have a perfect record when it comes to keeping promises. If we promised a trip to the park tomorrow and then wake up with the flu, we’ll probably have to break that promise. But in order to earn our children’s trust, we should never cancel because we’re tired or just don’t feel like it. Kids are smart and they’ll understand the difference between a promise that had to be broken and one that was made or broken carelessly or inconsiderately.
- Care About Their Feelings
Caring about our kids feelings goes right along with meeting their needs. It’s obvious that parents need to meet the physical needs of their kids, but some parents don’t realize that meeting their emotional needs is equally important. Nothing infuriates me more than to see parents disrespect their kids. There’s apparently a first birthday tradition of pushing baby’s face into their cake. I’ve seen parents play too rough, tease their kids to an extreme or laugh at them when they’re in a predicament and need help. A little good natured teasing can be ok, but our kids need to know that we’re on their side. They should feel like their parents are always going to help, protect, support and encourage them.
Those are the four most important things we can do to earn our children’s trust. Learning to trust in their parents sets a strong foundation for kids to grow into happy, well adjusted adults. It’s also a vital first step in raising children to be trustworthy themselves.
Watch for “Teaching Your Children to be Trustworthy,” coming soon on Love My Big Happy Family.
You might also enjoy reading Never Sneak Out While Baby is Distracted.
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