Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5 Reasons It's OK To Trust Your Child

Most parents, including myself, will tell you that they feel like they grew up in  "a different time." A time when it was safe to just be outside away from home from the end of the school day until the street lights came on. A time in which, we spent our weekends at ball fields with our friends and at parks all around town. Now, the world is different. Too many bad things have happened and our children unfortunately, just don't have those same luxuries of freedom. Still, I think that it is important that we recognize that even in this world of "bad people do bad things", it is ok to trust your children. It is ok to allow them room to grow and discover the world around them. For me, trusting my children has benefited both them and myself as a parent in the folllowing ways:

1. Trust Builds Confidence: We live in a very nice, very large typical suburban neighborhood. However, since we are a military family we are only going to be in this area for a year, I've not really made too much of an effort to know people beyond my immediate neighbors. The other day, my 10 year old son asked me if he could ride his bike around the block. My hesitation was immediate because it meant he would be out of my line of sight for a good while. Then I realized that by allowing him to do this, it would not only give him a sense of accomplishment: but would also boost his confidence that he was able to ride around the block by himself. I trusted him to ride his block where we had discussed would be safe and he did.

2. Trust Teaches Independence: The same example can be used to show that trust teaches independence. If you never trust your children to do something on their own, how will they ever learn independence? Kids need to be free to discover the world around them, within safe limits and boundaries, of course.

3. Trust Builds Positive Relationships. If your children believe you never trust them, they will not have a desire to build or to have a positive relationship with you. Furthermore, feeling as though they are untrustworthy will also be a detriment to other relationships they have in school with teachers, or with partners or coworkers later in life. Trust is such an important building block in establishing and teaching the value of postive relationships.

4. Not All Children Are Doing Something Wrong: Having a teenager and 2 other children who are growing up in an age of technology means my house is online a vasty majority of the time. We have talked at great length about the importance of online safety and security. They know that if I ask to see what they are doing, they must share it. They have been taught was is acceptable and what is unacceptable while online. I do not, however, feel the need to ask each and every time I walk into my daughter's room and see her on her laptop or her phone. That doesn't mean I never ask her, either. You have to be practical and find a balance. If you ask each and every time you have a child on a piece of technology, then you're not allowing them the experience of being trusted to make the right decisions and to apply the lessons you've worked hard to teach them.

5. Trust Teaches Consequence.  Despite your best efforts, your child will betray your trust in one way or another. Either as a toddler sneaking the candy he was told he couldn't have, or as a teenager breaking curfew or being somewhere he or she isn't supposed to be. It'll be devastating for you as a parent because you'll take it as a personal failure (as I'm sure I will also.) Howeer, in this "failure" there is a lesson: Consequence.  When your toddler takes the candy he's not allowed; and then you don't allow him to have any candy for month, he will come to understand he violated a trust you had in him. Same with a teenager. When you take the car keys away after breaking curfew, he will realize that it's a consequnce of lost trust.
Consequences can teach children necessary lessons about integrity, character and value. They can also teach a child the importance of making decsions between what is right and what is wrong.

I believe we have a responsibility as parents to teach our kids the value of trusting essential people in their lives (family, teachers, worthy friends)  as well as being trustworthy. It is not something to be taught or shared lightly;  but rather with purpose and intent to help shape them into strong positive individuals.

I would like to share this post with the following linky parties:

1. Party Under the Big Top #11

2. Wake Up Wednesday

3. Manic Monday (2nd Entry)

4. A Sorta Fairy Tale Blog Hop 51 (2nd Entry)

5. A Little R&R Blog Hop 100



Unknown said...

I love this!

As a pre-teen and teenager, my mom had absolutely NO trust in me, and it ended up having the opposite effect because I rebelled BIG time as soon as I got an inch of freedom.

I now have a teen daughter, and I choose to trust her when I can. Has she betrayed that trust? Yes. But we worked through it and now she has earned it back and I trust her again.

I totally agree with the technology as well. She knows the rules. And I do check on her, but very infrequently. I don't need to hover over her. Plus, what does that teach? I'm not going to be able to follow her around her whole life making sure she does right.

Thanks so much for this post!

Debbie said...

Hi Dori, it is important for us to give trust to our children. As it gives them a sense of responsibility and yes there will come a time when that trust may be broken, but as you pointed out there is a lesson to be learned from breaking trust.

By trusting our children we are allowing them to grow as people, giving them the freedom they need, but with guidelines.