How to Build a Trusting Relationship with Your Kids
New babies are our pride and joy. Then they grow up.
Your relationship with your kids will change and develop as they mature. It’s important to build a trusting relationship with your kids while they’re young and nurture it carefully as they grow.
Trust is a major building block when it comes to the parent-child relationship. This is especially true as your children age and become teenagers. You want to know that the trust you have in them isn’t misplaced, but you want them to know that they can trust you as well.
Trust is broken when one person in a relationship doesn’t act in the way the other thinks they should. This could be a teenager who sneaks out at night to go to a party. It could just as easily be a parent who stops coming to a teen’s sporting events for no apparent reason. In either case, trust is broken because of a difference in expectations.
Children want to trust their parents. However, parents still need to earn their children’s trust. To do this, you must treat your child with respect, follow through on promises, and enforce household rules. Your child needs to know that you’ll always speak truthfully to them and be reliable.
Trust is a two-way street. Children and teenagers need to show their parents that they’re trustworthy by following their parents’ rules. This goes back to acting as expected, which is the basis for trust and respect.
Here are some action steps you can take to build a trusting relationship with your kids:
1. Stress the fact that you’ll love them, no matter what. Children and teens need to know that they have your unconditional love.
* Go ahead and tell them, “No matter what you do, I’ll always love you. That will never change. I may not like what you do, and there may be consequences for those actions, but my love for you will never change.”
2. Keep the lines of communication open. Ask open-ended questions so you can learn to understand each other’s perspective.
* You may want to have a family meeting where you discuss the family’s rules and boundaries as well as the consequences of overstepping them.
3. Explain the benefits of having your trust. Give them concrete reasons why being trustworthy is to their advantage.
* For example, your child may ask to spend the night at a friend’s house. If they maintain a trusting relationship with you, you may be more willing to allow that privilege.
4. Provide a roadmap for success. How will they know if they’re meeting your expectations if you never tell them what they are?
* Explain to them that skipping homework, talking back, snotty attitudes, and slamming doors will erode your trust.
* However, finishing chores, doing their homework, speaking to you with respect and calling in to ask you about a change in plans will go a long way to building trust.
5. Give your child positive reinforcement when they do something right. Show your appreciation for completing chores on time or doing more than expected.
* Reward them with an extra half-hour of fun when they’re out because they’ve shown you that they can be trusted.
Trust is so important between a parent and child. These hints can teach you how to build a trusting relationship with your child, but the work is still up to you. Keep talking to your kids, expect the best from them, and you may find that they rise above your expectations.