Making sure your child trusts you may not seem like a big deal when they are little. Let’s face it, you are their best friend when they are little. They want nothing more than to be with you and play with you everyday.
You could tell them that they can fly and they would believe you.
But at some point, your child is going to reach a point where they have to decide who to put their trust in and it is going to come down to you, or someone else.
Why do I need my child to trust me?
Have you ever wondered if you should just lie to your child about things that they probably wouldn’t understand anyway?
Have you ever thought, “they are young, they won’t remember this”?
Or maybe you just don’t put the time in that you should when they are trying to tell you something.
In the end, these things may cause your child not to trust you. But why do you need your child to trust you anyway?
There are five main reasons you should want your child to trust you.
1// You do not want your children to seek answers from peers
If your child is afraid to come to you for information, they will most likely go to their peers for information instead.
When this happens, they will most likely get incorrect information or information that you are not ready for them to know.
Other Kids can also influence the decision your child is trying to make. Say they are deciding if they should try try vaping. They want to know how it makes you feel, if you cough when you do it, what it tastes like. Their peers, if they already vape, may make it seem more appealing to your child than you would.
2// You do not want your child to seek advice from adults you do not know or trust
Your child may seek out advice from another adult who is not you. If you do not know or trust this person, then they could be giving your kids information that is not what you would want them to know, is misleading them,or is incorrect.
When your child seeks a trusting relationship with another adult, this could also be dangerous if that adult turns out to be manipulative or a bad person. They will be able to use your child’s vulnerability to take advantage of them.
3// You Want your Child To Come To You For Answers To Their Questions
The best information a child can get is from their own or parents. The only people in the world who have their best interest at heart. You are the one who can help them wade through all of the questions and decisions they will encounter throughout their younger years.
When your kids are young and still impressionable, it is important that they get the right information. And a lot of times that is information that comes from you and aligns with your core values and morals.
4// You do Not Want Your Child To make stupid or rash decisions on their own
When our kids are young, their brains are not fully developed. Even when they are good kids that normally make good decisions, sometimes their immature brains do not realize a situation is bad or dangerous.
Personal Story – There is a mother I know who definitely rules with an iron fist. I cannot blame her, much of her time as a mother has been as a single parent and she is raising 3 boys. She had to be firm in order to raise good kids.
But recently I was coming back from dropping my own daughter at the bus stop and found that one of her boys and another boy were just starting to walk up to the bus. I stopped to let them know that they had missed the bus already.
What transpired next was one of my biggest fears for my own children. He yelled up to the other kid, “Hey we already missed it. We should just walk because there is no way I’m going home to tell my mom.”
Now, for these boys to walk to school, they would be walking on a very busy state road where cars are driving 40 MPH (or more) and there is no sidewalk …for approximately 30 minutes, if not longer.
That is not a smart choice. No to mention that they would be late for school anyway and the school would more than likely call their parents anyway…so mom is still going to find out.
But kids just cannot think that far ahead or think through that many scenarios. And this decision was made solely because these kids were afraid to tell their parents they needed a ride to school!
5// You Do Not Want Them Searching For Answers Online
In this age of electronics, where information is prevelantly available to any and all who seek it, it is important to have a strong relationship with your child so they can come to you with questions and when seeking advice.
If a child cannot talk to their parents, they may turn to researching answers online. And if you have ever done a search online for anything, you know that you must be highly selective about what you actually believe to be true or false based on the website you decide to read.
It is important for a child to trust their parents enough to come to them to ask questions and get answers at any time in their life when they need guidance. Otherwise, they will find bad guidance somewhere else.
So make sure that you are establishing a relationship that centers on trust and love now, while they are young, so they always come to you in the future…when they really may run into so big decisions they need help with.
So I guess the next logical question is, How do you get a child to trust you? Well, it turns out I wrote a list of 10 things you can do to build trust with your kids starting when they are young.
10 things you can do to build trust with your kids starting when they are young
How do you gain a child’s trust?
>>Don’t speak while they are speaking.
Listening is a skill we all must learn. It is difficult, especially when your child comes to you with a tough question or problem, to not immediately want to give our opinion or say something in response.
Most of us go through life trying to talk over the person next to us so we can be heard. Now your child is trying to be heard. Let them be heard by being a person who listens to the entire story and does not judge or comment until the very end.
>>Do not give your opinion
Opinions are our own, and everyone has one. Including your child. If you are quick to give your opinion about what is happening, it may change how your child continues on with their account of what happened or their question.
If you truly want your child to know you are listening and trying to help and understand, then ask questions. Ask questions that relate to what they have said so you can get a better understanding of the situation and also let them know that you are doing your best to gather all the facts.
>>Make The Time To Listen All The Time
Sometimes our kids want to tell us stories and what they did during the day. And many times we are too busy to listen. We should not just listen to our kids when they have problems or questions. But also when they just want to talk to you.
Making time to listen to your child on a regular basis teaches them that you will listen when they need to come to you when it really matters.
So don’t blow your kids off. Take the time to really listen. Sometimes, you can gather enough information from the random stories they tell you to know what is happening when a problem does occur.
>>Share your own stories
Many times in the past I have shared stories from my own life in order to help my child understand that they are not alone in what they are experiencing. That does not mean that I turn things around to be about me. It just gives them the ability to relate to you a little better by knowing that you have experienced some of the same feelings they have experienced.
>>Share other people’s stories
If you do not have a story of your own, perhaps share someone else’s story that you know in order to relate to your child and their situation.
>>Show How a path that was chosen and the outcome
After relating the story, share the path that the person in the story took and the outcome. Then ask questions about what would have happened if the person had chosen a different path.
You are leading your child to a decision without making it for them. Let them discover their options and consequences on their own, but help them get there by showing them different scenarios. This helps them to know you trust them and have faith in their ability to make good decisions.
>>Laughing and Playing
When we play with our children, we connect with them in a way that they understand. Kids play, it is what they are built for. Playing is how they learn, explore, and build relationships. So what a better way for you to build a relationship with them.
Have you ever heard the saying:
‘A Family That Plays Together, Stays Together’
It is true. Playing can help your family learn to work together as a team, overcome obstacles, learn to rely on family, learn to make decisions, learn to overcome defeat, and learn that your family is always on your side rooting you on.
There are so many trust building attributes to playing and laughing together.–link to how to be silly with your kids
>>Figure out what their passions are and join in
The hard part is figuring out what to do that your kids will enjoy. Sometimes kids are easy and other times they are not. If you can find out what they love, then you can gear your activities toward that.
For instance, if they love sharks, then do some shark art projects, read books together about sharks, and possibly try to find a shark game to play…like sharks and minnows.
>>Find Fun Activities To Do With Kids
I have created three lists of fun activities you can do with your kids during summer, fall, and winter if you need help thinking of ideas.
4// Offer Solutions
Give options they can choose from to help them solve the problem but let them make the final decision. This lets them know that you trust them.
5// Trust Them
- Allow them to make their own decisions
- Do not admonish them for making a poor decision…it is a learning process
- Know that you must fail in order to succeed
6// Keep Secrets
When your child confides in you, make sure you do not blab to everyone you know.
7// Tell the truth
- Be upfront about what they can expect from you and the situation they are in.
- Do not lie to anyone in life. If your kids know you are lying, it teaches them that you may also lie to them and that it is okay to lie to you.
- Definitely do not lie to them. They will not trust you again if you do. There are ways to explain and describe things that do not give all the details, but you are still telling them the truth.
8// Talk to them more often
Talking more often and not just when you want to know something about their lives, helps them get into a regular routine of talking to you about their day. Here are some times to try talking to them:
- At night
- In the car
- Doing laundry
- Other times you are not able to look each other in the eye
9// Discover their strengths and weaknesses
- Teach them what they’re strengths and weaknesses are.
- Speak to the things that make them tick.
- Be their biggest cheerleader whether they are doing what you want them to or not.
10 // Have perspective
Remember that they are young and have not lived or learned as long as you. Something that seems trivial to you, may be immensely important to your child. Try to gain perspective by putting yourself in their shoes.
If you are interested in reading more about teaching your children to trust you for the times later in life when they fall, then read my post:
Things to never do If you Want Your Kids To Trust You and Know You Love Them