In our daily communication with our little ones, there’s a very subtle line between not telling the truth and telling a lie. While there are circumstances when it may not be appropriate to tell the as-is truth about something the children see in front of their little eyes, we need to work hard to earn their trust as they grow. The process of building trust and the bonding that starts at a very early age goes a long way in framing the personality of the child and sustains through the course of life. So it’s vital for parents to instill trust in the young minds.
These simple yet practical steps can help parents establish the element of trust in their children.
Consistency is the key
Trust building doesn’t happen overnight. Parents need to lay the groundwork delicately. When the child becomes old enough to understand simple sentences and be able to respond back with a few words, start slowly by making them understand that when you say something, you really mean it. This needs to be reinforced in a positive manner.
For example, when the child wants to spend more time in the swing after about 30 minutes of swinging already, make them move to a different play or another activity and while doing so, assure them that they can get back to the swing in a little while again. By doing this, it’s been perceptibly understood by the young mind that they can trust you. When you actually fulfill that promise, the bond strengthens and they begin to trust you more. It’s important to fulfill the promise even though the child appears distracted with other play. Gently remind them that “you remember how mommy told you can get back to the swings after a while? Now we can go back to the swing if you would like it.”. They get to decide now and the feeling of being in control boosts their confidence and trust at the same time.
Never talk about their behavior with others when the child is beside you.
It’s very impolite to talk about a probable negative behavior of one’s own child to others. If the child happens to overhear any of the conversation, it may cause permanent damage to the relationship. Some kids are picky caters; some are lazy players, appreciate them for who they are and understand them for what they want to become. Never discuss the child’s preferences and weakness with others especially when the child is around. In other ways, talking positively about the child with others makes them realize what the parents actually think of their capabilities. And if you really had a genuine concern you wanted to discuss with a trustworthy friend, prefer to do so while the child is not beside you.
Never give away their stuff without the child’s knowledge
Whether it’s their favorite toy or their broken toy, it’s important to mention it to the child before donating or throwing it away. From a child’s perspective, a stuffed animal might even mean more than their sibling. Kids get really attached to things they use and play with. Check with the child if they are ok with your intentions of giving their stuff away.
Give them choices
Give them the power to make tiny decisions around the house. For example, let them pick their clothes to wear and let them choose the fruits for their lunch box. All these seemingly insignificant things not only avoid unnecessary power struggles, but also helps reassure the importance of their own opinions and how the opinions are being valued. Remember, in case of a power struggle, the child always finds a way to win. So, respect the child in the same way you’d respect an adult.
Don’t be judgmental
Even If they’ve done something wrong, they deserve an explanation. For example, if they’ve broken a toy, instead of talking about how bad their behavior was, try to find out why they did it. What was the intention to break a toy? Was it an accident or a deliberate action? Most kids throw toys just to observe what happens when they throw things and the idea of understanding cause and effect sometimes ends up in a messy playroom. But only if they were given a choice to explain, parents can understand the reasons for their behavior. Also, only when the parents are being non-judgmental about their behavior, they will open up to show the willingness to share their thoughts with you.
Have you done any of these or if you have other methods that work for you, do share in the comments.