Trust is taught and built when you least expect it. It isn’t in the large, loud, dramatic moments. It happens in the quiet, everyday-ness of life. It is taught through demonstration and not by lectures, never by punishment.
Show your children trust by keeping their private lives private. Ask their permission before posting on social media and don’t post if they don’t give their permission. Don’t talk about their every misstep with all of your friends and relatives. It is ironic that adults wouldn’t want their loved ones to call the neighbors every time they made a mistake, but we do that to children. If you wouldn’t want your children to tell their peers when you misbehave, don’t do it to them.
When your children as a question, tell them the truth. They won’t ask until they are ready to hear the answer. They will ask about the tooth fairy, Santa and other childhood stories when they want to know. If you have built a good relationship, they may ask you about sexuality, drinking and drugs. They need to know simple truth from you.
Keep every one of your promises. Don’t even hint about things you may not be able to do. Children believe you when you say you will take them to the park or buy a new toy…until they can’t believe you anymore. Show them that you only say what is possible and that you are one of the very few people in this word that they can count on.
The pivotal moments in every relationship are the moments we barely think about. They are the moments when you kept your word or you didn’t. They are the moments when you chose not to gossip but to do what you say by keeping some things in the family. Trust is built by respecting the needs, privacy and humanity of others. It’s true for you in your adult relationships and it’s how you build a lifelong trusting relationship with your children.
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