A lot of us parents are always consumed with our kids lying, how we don’t trust them, and how we trust our kids. I kind of want to flip the script today. How do our kids trust us? What is it specifically that we can do as parents to gain the trust of our children? There’s this preconceived notion that we’re their parents, they’re going to feel safe with us; they trust us. I felt that way for many years after having my own two boys. Being a single mom, I just felt like, “Of course, they trust me.” Number one, honesty is one of my highest values, and I just thought kids trust their parents because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Recently, working with a plethora of teenagers, one of the common things that I have found is that they’re not trusting their parents. When I was kind of digging even deeper to get to the cause, I was like, “What is that? What creates a child from being born as a baby trusting that we, the parents, are going to take care of all their needs and show up for them, all of a sudden doesn’t trust us anymore?”
What I have found across the board is that when parents do not follow through, there’s no consistency. That is one of the key elements that our kids need to feel like they can trust and rely on us. They know we are going to show up, they know we are going to follow through, and they know that there’s going to be consistency in what we say and what we do. There’s consistency in our behavior and our words. The other thing is to not threaten. Don’t say, “I’m going to take that away from you if you don’t do it,” and then you don’t take it away. In addition, this has happened recently with one of my clients. They weren’t allowed to go to a friend’s house for a party or something like that on the weekend. If his grades were bad, bad being that they’re below an A, and I said, “So, what happened?” He said, “Well, I didn’t get A’s; I got some B’s and C’s.” Then I said, “So, did you get to the party?” and they said, “Well, for like three weeks, they said I wasn’t going to, but last week was the party, and yeah, I did get to go.”
Again, there’s no follow-through; it’s just an empty threat. Your kids don’t realize when Mom or Dad are going to tell me the truth and when they are not. The tip for today is to create trust between you and your child. Help them realize that they can trust you by being consistent and following through.
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