Parents have a significant role in how their children develop trust. We have the opportunity to really start our children off with a full trust tank. Here are 8 ways to strengthen this trust bond with our kids.
1 BE OPEN
Parents will make mistakes. Being open about our shortcomings, fears, and struggles helps our children trust that doing so is safe to do. Volunteering information to your child teaches him/ her how to do the same. As you do this, talk about how to volunteer information to people beyond your family in a way that is safe: how to not over share, increasing your risk for predatory behaviour of others.
2 ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES, CONSISTENCY AND ROUTINE
Routines and consistency also help reduce conflict, as the child will get to futility quicker. The setting and holding of boundaries grows a slightly different type of trust: a strong belief that a parent will uphold safety and integrity. Children might get upset when you set a boundary like No hitting, but as that child grows, realizing you are also stopping him from being hit by others, he will appreciate this firm line.
3 TELL THE TRUTH
Get in the habit of not using white lies with your children. This helps children match verbal and nonverbal communication, reducing confusion. It also helps little ones understand what positive moral ethics are.
4 KEEP PROMISES
Follow through with what you tell your child you will be doing. Part of keeping promises is to not use them to reduce your guilt or instead of saying “no.” Promise what is reasonable and within your ability to (restfully) complete. Be reliable.
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Children will automatically verbally or nonverbally ask for help, as long as they believe (trust) those pleas will be answered. In order to grow trust and continue your child’s openness, requests for help need to be answered to the best of your ability.
6 USE EYE CONTACT
People learn a lot about a person’s intention by focusing on their eyes. When speaking to a child, get down and gently look into his or her eyes. Let your child see what sincerity looks like.
Attuning is taking listening even deeper; it is anticipating your child’s needs based on verbal and nonverbal cues. It is knowing that a melting-down child, for example, really needs to sleep so instead of unleashing punishments for lashing out, your focus in on calming your child, and figuring out a way to get him or her horizontal.
Listening is different than hearing—listening is an action. To listen to a child means to recognize their words, but more importantly to seek to really understand his or her underlying message.
How do you build a trust between you and your child?
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