Parenting is one of the most fulfilling but also the most challenging jobs any person will have. It’s a full-time commitment. As a parent, you have an important role to play in influencing your child’s well-being, self-esteem, and values. One of the ingredients necessary to fulfil this role is to build trust between you and your child. Here are four essential ways to cultivate trust in your relationship with your children:
The world today is filled with so many distractions from the infinite social media feed on your phone to the piles of to-do lists sitting on your office desk. This should challenge parents to do their best to be more present and to focus on what is important: the relationships with the people you love.
Being present means investing in quality time and giving your undivided child attention when you are together. It will require a certain amount of discipline from you, especially if you’re used to multitasking and having a gadget on hand all the time.
You could start by making small tweaks to your daily routine, for instance keeping your phone away during seemingly casual yet essential family activities like meals and vacations. Be intentional in your parenting decisions and the moments you spend with your family.
When you let your child know and see that you are focused on their needs, this assures them that they can trust you. On the other hand, research has consistently shown that neglectful parenting has many long-term adverse effects on children, including behavioural problems and attachment disorders.
Model Good Behavior
To build trust with your children, show in your actions and words that you are someone worthy of their trust and respect. As a parent, you have a responsibility to be an excellent example to your child—this not only applies to the big moments but in your daily life most of all. Start cultivating positive everyday habits your children can emulate.
Some examples include being more disciplined in your day-to-day life such as choosing to eat healthy, exercising, and by being kind to others. Similarly, you should also begin eliminating unhealthy habits from your life. If you have a smoking addiction, now is a good time to do a nicotine test and cut back until you quit the habit.
Your role as a parent is not to strive for perfection but to be a source of strength, security, and inspiration for your children. You will not be able to be a functional and stable parent to your children if they see you as someone they cannot respect or rely on because of your toxic habits or an unhealthy lifestyle.
The saying “Practice what you preach” certainly applies to all areas of parenting. You cannot expect your children to be trustworthy, disciplined, and responsible individuals if you do not model those values yourself.
Treat them with Respect
Your child’s self-confidence is shaped during his or her formative years, and in this definitive stage, you are one of the few adults that have a lasting influence over them. It is why it is so important for children to feel respected and valued.
When you foster a healthy home life built on trust and respect, your child grows up with strong and positive self-esteem that will serve as essential tools for them in the real world. With this armour, they can navigate life’s challenges with confidence and flexibility. On the other hand, when you continuously undermine your child, they develop poor self-confidence and become distrustful and fearful.
Being a respectful parent means you prioritize your child’s worth, identity, and dignity. It may sound pretty straightforward, but in reality, many parents disrespect their children without knowing it. You are being disrespectful when you dismiss your child as overly emotional when they try to open up to you about their struggles at school.
You disrespect them when you humiliate them in public when they do something wrong instead of talking to them in private. Respect is a two-way street. If you want your children to treat you with respect, then you, too, should treat them with respect.
Treating your child with respect does not mean you have to overindulge and spoil them. Discipline plays an equally important role in building a trusting relationship with your child because it gives structure and order in their life. Children need structure to develop self-control, and responsibility and discipline is an essential component of that structure.
Discipline helps you teach your child what good or bad behaviour is, but it should not start and end with punishment. When your child does something wrong, make sure you explain to them why they were wrong and why it is important that you discipline them.
Many parents avoid difficult confrontations with their children and would instead take the easy way out and ignore negative behaviour instead of enforcing discipline. However, in tolerating your child’s negative behaviour now, you are setting them up to become socially and emotionally immature.
Children who are not taught early on about what is right and wrong could grow up believing they can get away with anything. Ultimately, love is at the core of the discipline. You show your child what is right and wrong because you love them and don’t want them to grow up into dysfunctional adults.
Being a parent is certainly a daunting task. Some days it will feel like the most rewarding and joyful experience to have while other days you may feel deeply heartbroken and frustrated by your children.
You have to face the journey one day at a time. Be grateful for the moments, both good and bad, and be thoughtful in your response. Parenting is a learning experience not just for your children but for you as a grown-up. You might find that they also have a lot to teach you.
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