Teaching a child trust.

Trust – it can be difficult to build and easy to break.  We all want our children to learn to trust us, but what if learning to trust isn’t as easy as it seems? Some children naturally gravitate towards trust, but others less so.  If you want to increase the trust with your children, consider starting with these four tips.  They will help your child learn that you are someone who is reliable enough to lean on.

1. Be Available

Your child needs to know that you are always available to talk. Be proactive and ask them questions such as, “What was your favorite part of the day?” or “Did you learn anything fun or interesting in school?” Be patient as they try to discuss their feelings and worries. Encourage them to share with you their own ideas and don’t just dismiss them as unworkable. Praise for the effort will encourage more independent thought! Often, having your child keep a diary or journal will help them put their thoughts into words.

2. Always be Consistent

Although it may seem counterintuitive, children like rules and routine. They can feel more secure if they know the boundaries and only have to figure out how to operate within set limits. Simple rules clearly expressed will make them happier and your life easier!

3. If your answer is “no” then stick with no!

Sticking with “no” is really just operation within the boundaries you’ve set. If you waffle, you make the lines blurry, the kids afraid, and no one learns how to behave or knows what is expected. Be fair and make sure the rule is known beforehand, but act quickly and firmly to keep to the rule when you are challenged. Don’t make empty threats, so think before you suggest a punishment, then stick to it!

4. Secrets Hurt

Keeping secrets that confuse your child or make him/her feel bad is not good and you should let your child know that they shouldn’t agree to keep such secrets. They should only agree to keep a secret on condition that is not hurtful in this way.

Children learn to trust when we lead by example!

Resource: Greater Good Magazine UC Berkeley: Life Stages of Trust

North American Council of Adoptable Children (NACAC): The Science of Parent-Child Relationships

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