“In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.
Trust is foundational to human relationships and it is important to teach children about trust and the importance of being trustworthy. It is equally important that children learn that not all people are trustworthy and therefore cannot be trusted. It is also important that you teach children how to go about knowing who to trust and who not to trust. The place to turn for guidance on how to do this is the Bible.
The Bible tells us that we must acknowledge that ALL humans…you, me, your mom, your dad, your children, are sinful. Romans 3:23 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Because of this, it is very likely that trusts will be broken in relationships, people will disappoint each other. This does not mean that we are to avoid relationships, God wants us to interact with each other. What it does mean is that we should not expect anyone to be perfect and therefore we must not put our entire trust in any human. We must rely on God first and know that He is the one we are to put our ultimate trust in. Remember Psalm 118:8, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. And Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
God wants us to know that we cannot blindly trust everyone with everything and we cannot trust everyone with our children. And, we need to teach our children that they must not trust everyone. Children must be taught about distrust, that “feeling of doubt that you have towards someone or something”. Teach your children to recognize motives that are not pure, Proverbs 13:20 states, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Encourage them to stay away from people who have values that go against the values you have taught them…values that go against the Word of God. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” You must be discerning about the people you trust and you must teach your children to do the same. Teach your children about discernment and the importance of following their intuition… the framework for protecting them from violence. Teach them this by teaching them the Word of God and by letting them see you doing what you are teaching them.
In his book, Protecting The Gift, Gavin De Becker states that, “To protect your child, you must believe in yourself. Safety starts with knowing that your intuition about people is a brilliant guardian”.
“If you don’t make the mistake of waiting for clear signals to become memories you wish you’d acted on, then you can defeat most predators. When you don’t trust someone who makes an unsolicited approach, when your intuition sends you doubt or suspicion, you’ve got all the information you need. People who never received permission to act on their intuition (and that’s most people) may wait until they can construct a logical reason to act, but I encourage you to give up the old way. When you listen to the natural signals of danger, you are teaching your children to listen as well, and that will save them a lot of conflict and self-doubt.” ~ Protecting The Gift by Gavin De Becker
In addition to teaching your children about discernment and following their intuition…that “still small voice,” there are other actions you should take to keep them safe:
The most important thing that a child could ever learn is the existence, character, and plan of God. So remember, if you teach your child to trust God first and foremost and not put his complete trust in others, then he will be free to trust others and know when not to.
Trust Is A Two-Way Street
The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. ~ Proverbs 20:7
As a parent, you may find yourself in situations asking, “Do I trust my child? Do I trust what she is doing or saying?” What we often forget to ask is, “Does my child trust me?” Trust is a two-way street and believe it or not, it must be earned.
Trust is foundational to human relationships and it begins when a baby cries and his needs are met. His cry is his only way of letting you know that he has an unmet need. He cries to let you know when he needs affection…to be hugged, cuddled and comforted. He may be hungry and need you to feed him or wet and need to be changed. Whatever he needs and as you meet his needs, he learns that he can trust you. Responding to his cries, helps him learn to trust not only you, but the world around him. By responding to his needs, you are building a foundation of trust for your child.
Trust building continues as your child gets older… by keeping promises, being honest, respecting him, listening to him, and being consistent with your parenting. Establishing trust and confidence is how you can build a meaningful relationship with your child and cope when parenting gets tough. In other words, “A healthy relationship must ultimately be based on trust. To build trust, you always keep your word. You remain consistent and dependable in everything you say and do. You become the kind of team player who is utterly reliable in every situation. You never do or say anything that can shake this foundation of trust upon which a healthy relationship is built.” ~ Brian Tracy
Brene Brown’s acronym, BRAVING, emphasizes the qualities that contribute to building and sustaining trust.
B----Boundaries: Can your child trust you to be clear about the rules and regulations that you have established? Can she trust you to give her room and to say “no” when it is called for? Can she respect you to allow her to say a respectful “no” and will you understand?
R----Reliability: Will you do what you say you will do? Will you keep your promises? Will your actions match your words? Can she trust you to be consistent?
A----Accountability: Can she trust that when you make a mistake you will own it and apologize and make amends? Will you allow her to hold herself accountable for the mistakes she makes and give her the opportunity to apologize?
V----Vault: Will you keep her confidence? Will you be sensitive to the things that embarrass her and not repeat them because you think it is something cute to tell?
I-----Integrity: Can she trust you to model what integrity looks like? Will you let her see you choosing the harder right over the easier wrong? Will you practice your values and not just verbalize them?
N----Non-judgment: Will you allow her to cry without judging? Will you allow her to struggle and make decisions without judging? Will you allow her to see you reaching out for help when needed and helping others without judging? Will you show her respect? Will you listen and show genuine interest in what she is saying?
G-----Generosity: Will you assume that her intentions are good and when you are not sure, you will talk to her about it? Will you make the best assumptions about her instead of the worst?
Trust between you and your child is vital and must be built and sustained. But remember you must also do what Proverbs 22:6 tells parents to do… “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This includes teaching her about trusting God. Teach her that God is sovereign and that He works on behalf of His children. Teach her Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Teach her that when all else fails, it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
Trust is foundational to human relationships and it is vital to establishing confidence and assurance so that your child knows that she can rely on you. The key to building trust with your child is to start when she is young and to emphasize the qualities that contribute to not only building trust but also sustaining it. And, as she learns to trust you, she will find it easy and necessary to trust the One who loves her more than even you do…our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Parenting With Courage
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Raising children is daunting at best. Do you remember the feeling you had when the delivery room nurse handed you your baby? Remember that sense of awe and overwhelming love? And as they prepared you for your discharge home, you realized that you have the complete responsibility for someone other than yourself…what she eats and drinks, when she eats and drinks, what she wears, her education, on and on…it is now completely up to you, her very survival depends on you, her parents.
If I ask you to prioritize your responsibilities regarding your child, you would probably find it difficult to rank order them. Oh, food and shelter would probably rank high on the list. But, after that, what would your list look like? And what about your role as teacher? What would you say is the most important thing that you should teach your child?
I agree with Paul David Tripp, “The most important thing that a child could ever learn is the existence, character, and plan of God.” According to Doctor Charles Stanley, “Very early in your child’s life…introduce them to the fact that God has a plan for them.” In Deuteronomy 6:5-7 we read, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
I prayed that our children would become productive, independent citizens. I wanted them to love each other, help others, have successful careers, think for themselves and above all, love God with all their hearts and souls. In order for this to happen, Dennis and I had to take action, we had to lead our children to know and love God, we had to be diligent in leading our children to Jesus. We read Bible stories to them. We didn’t just send them to church, we took them. We used every day occurrences to introduce them to stories about Jesus. And, we prayed with them.
Yes, raising children is a daunting task. However, we must remember that, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” If God made you a parent, through adoption or birth, He will give you what you need to raise your child. You can be the parent God wants you to be. And, you can raise your child to love God and seek His plan for her life. You just need to seek Him and follow Him. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Remember, God always keeps His promises.