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.