When I mention the word trust in the context of parenting, what do you think of? Many parents think of their child and whether or not they can be trusted. That is only part of the equation. The most important piece is whether or not your child can trust you.
Trust is very subtle. I would venture to say that most parents don’t realize most of their everyday activities are either building up or tearing down the trust factor in their relationship. If you want to know how you’re doing in this area, here are a few questions you can answer for yourself:
- Do I do what I say I will do, when I say I’ll do it?
- Do I take the time to renegotiate a change in a promise or agreement I have with my child, or do I just change it and announce it to him?
- When I need to have a difficult conversation with my child, do I approach the conversation with love and kindness, or anger?
- Do I listen to understand, or do I tend to judge?
- Do I ask my child questions to find out more about him?
- Do I share stories about my own life?
- Do I take the time to get to know my child’s friends?
- Do I listen when my child is having trouble with a friend, in school, or with life? Or, am I too busy
- When I ask my child about his day, do I listen attentively or do I multi-task?
- How do I rate myself in the area of trust on a scale of zero to ten? Zero is my child does not trust me; ten is my child totally trusts me.
After you have some time to reflect on these questions, and especially after you have rated yourself, take a few minutes to sit down with your children and share this with them. Ask them to rate you. Do they trust you? It might be a hard conversation. It might be a pleasant surprise. Either way, it is essential that you know where you stand, and that you make a point of keeping the trust high. It will make a tremendous difference later.