Trust is an essential ingredient in close relationships. For us to feel safe and willing open up our heart in our romantic relationships we need to feel that our heart is safe with the other person. That they won’t betray our trust. When it comes to our children – trust is important too. We would all like to raise children who we feel are trustworthy. Especially knowing that as teens this trust will be put to the test, whether we feel up to it or not.
Easier said than done, right?!
Many of us hold the belief that trust is something you earn. And while it is true that it is easier to trust someone who consistently show us that they can be trusted – the thing about trust is – there are no guarantees. Trust is a decision. And because children ultimately do as we do – not as we say – when it comes to our children – we do well to lead the way.
”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.
A helpful exercise is to ask yourself; Who do I become when I don’t feel trusted?
Who do I become when I feel trusted and feel that others have faith in my ability to cope and go about a situation?
Quite a difference, isn’t it!? When we are trusted and our loved ones have faith in us – we blossom. And our kids are no exception.
Every day – you get opportunities to show your child that you trust and have faith in the fact that she want to cooperate with you.
- When you ask your pre-school’er to put on her coat – it is far more likely that your child will want to cooperate with you if you then look away (and stay near) – as opposed to looking at her straight in the eye until the task is done.
Allowing her the space to connect with her desire to cooperate – avoids many a power battle. Your mere presence and faith in the fact that your respectful, yet clear way of giving the instruction has been heard – sends a signal to your child that you mean business. And it is this mutual respect that invites cooperation.
- You can decide to trust your child to be able to deal with hardship: No-one can go through life without hurt. But 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.
When mum / dad believe in me – perhaps I can too..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 and find their own answers.
- When your teenage son / daughter is going to their first party – and you are worried sick about all the things that could go wrong – show them- that you trust them. Because when we don’t – it’s hard for them to trust themselves. This does not mean you don’t do what you need to do to keep your child safe by knowing where they are going, how to get in touch with them etc. But constantly checking up on them, tracking them or quizzing them in sceptical ways will only serve to disconnect you from your teen.So while trust comes with no guarantees and can feel like a leap of faith (sometimes a BIG ONE) – it is a wise decision.
Our kids are often so much more capable than we dare give them credit for.
I would love to hear from you – to know how you feel about trusting your child.
The list below of upcoming workshops are all a fantastic resource for looking in more depth at your connection and trust in your child – and empowering you to become the parent you want to be