A common goal that we as parents often have is to be able to build a trusting relationships with our kids and to trust them! Especially knowing that as teens this trust will be put to the test, whether we feel up to it or not. Many of us hold the belief that trust is something you earn – and show our children in daily situations that we don’t implicitly trust them.
Take this dad for example: “I see and hear everything” .. I overheard a well-meaning dad say the other day in a cafe. He was addressing his son who insisted he hadn’t kicked his screaming sister. In a bid to stop the situation he did what many of us do when we are frustrated with our kids – we threaten. We bring into question the trustworthiness of our kids –and take it upon ourselves to referee and micromanage the situation – because this is after all how most of us were brought up.
But here’s the thing:
- Children give back what we give. So when we meet them with trust – like any adult – they have a natural desire to honour our view of them.
- Growing up feeling trusted is a powerful self-esteem booster.
- Trusting our children -enables them to trust themselves – and trust us.
- Strengthens our connection.
The thing about trust is – there are no guarantees. Trust is a decision. And it’s a brave decision.
We can all relate to that feeling of walking through customs at the airport – almost feeling like a criminal – checking over and over in our mind – that we haven’t forgotten to declare something from our travels.
Ask yourself this question;
-Who do you become when you feel mistrusted?
-Who do you become when you feel trusted and that others have faith in your ability to cope and go about a situation?
When we are trusted and our loved ones have faith in us – we blossom. And our kids are no exception.
Every day – we get to show our kids that we trust them and have faith in the fact that they want to cooperate with us.
- When we ask our pre-school’er to put on their coat – having eye contact so that we know that we’ve been heard – it is far more likely that your child will actually want to cooperate with you – if you then look away (and stay near) – as opposed to looking at them till the task is done.
When we lock eyes – this if often when the power battle begins. When we show faith in the fact that we have been heard and that our body language and mere presence sends a signal to the child that we mean business – we get taken so much more seriously.
- When we trust them to deal with hardship: No-one can go through life without hurt. And because our undying love for our kids, it can feel almost impossible not to go into ‘fix it’ mode when life is against them. However, trusting and reflecting back your faith in their ability to cope has a powerful effect on your child.
Whether they have had an argument with a friend, received a bad grade, been dumped by a boyfriend / girlfriend or have forgotten to take their favourite toy to nursery, when we empathise and resist the urge to take away their pain – they are able to tap into their own resources, we trust them to manage it!.
We can then coach our children to find their own answers – by asking them what they need. What they could do, How can we help and support them etc.
This fosters emotional tolerance and self-esteem.
- When our teen is going to their first party – and we are worried sick about all the things that could go wrong – show them- that you trust them. Because when we don’t they don’t trust themselves.
So while trust comes with no guarantees and can feel like a leap of faith – it is a wise decision.
Our kids are often so much more capable than we dare give them credit for.
To learn more about trust, confidence and self-esteem – join us at our “Boost your