Trust can be a tricky part of any relationship, especially between a parent and child.
Holding God close in your relationships can make gaining trust easier. Teaching your child about God and following the ways of the Bible make it easier for trust to be mastered, and to keep that trust throughout the life of your relationship.
Gaining your child’s trust and keeping it requires building a solid relationship with your child. Building trust takes time, losing it takes seconds. The following actions are six ways you can gain and keep trust.
Listen when your child talks to you, even if it’s not about anything you think is important. Listening to your child shows him respect. It also shows that you have an interest in his life and what is going on, regardless of whether or not the topic is mundane or exciting.
A child’s world is not as far-reaching as an adult’s, so what may seem like nonsense to you is really important to them. As you listen to your child, do not judge him. He has come to you and feels comfortable sharing what is on his mind. Do not make him regret it by judging what he says. Likewise, do not react with extreme emotion, especially if he says something you do not like.
Speak the Truth
We don’t want our children to lie, so why should we lie to them? Speak the truth, even if it is hard to hear. You may want to ease your child’s fear of the dentist by telling her that it’s fun, but who thinks the dentist is actually fun?
If you stretch the truth about the small matters, and your child catches you in the lie (by discovering that the dentist is certainly not fun), chances are she will not trust you when you talk about things that truly matter. She may question whether or not you are stretching the truth or wonder if you are flat-out lying. Try speaking the truth, regardless of the matter at hand, but of course, always take your child’s age into consideration when explaining things.
Lead by Example
There is nothing worse than a hypocrite. Walk your talk and lead by example. Show your child through your actions the kind of person you want her to be. Don’t lecture your kid about smoking as you are puffing away on a cigarette, or warn of the dangers of speeding as you drive over the speed limit. Trust results from your child being able to believe the words coming out of your mouth. If your words are backed up by the right actions, your child can trust what you say.
Keep Your Promises
Your word is gold. Whether you have promised to take your child to the park or promised to take away her favorite toy for misbehaving, stick to it.
When you decide to promise something, make sure you can actually fulfill that promise. Not only does keeping your promise show your child a level of trust, it also ensures a level of safety. When your child trusts what you say to be true, you build a stronger relationship in which your child can feel safe.
Practice Unconditional Love
Love your child through thick and thin. Love your child even if you don’t agree with his choice of clothing or taste in music. Give him space to express his values and be his true self.
Loving your child unconditionally withholds judgment and helps build his confidence. The more you let your child be who he is meant to be, who God created him to be, the more he will trust in your relationship. Unconditional love is not based on actions or accomplishments, it is love based on the other person’s soul.
Not everything your child talks to you about is going to be a secret. But as you listen to her speaking to you, discern whether or not she is speaking in confidence or just talking half-heartedly about her day. When your child confides in you, she doesn’t expect you to run to your best friend or sister and blab all about it. And if you do, and especially if she catches you, she may never come to you again.
Be careful when telling your spouse something your child told you. Often your child feels she has spoken only to you and may feel betrayed if you relay what you heard. If you feel the need to share with others what your child has shared with you, ask her if it’s okay first.