Start Building Trust with Your Children Today

We all want to build that special relationship with our kids where whether they're celebrating, deliberating, or disappointed, they come to us to share in that experience. We want that trust with our kids, but trust doesn't build on its own. When parents want to build trust intentionally, it can be hard to know where to start. Consider: 

When have you built trust with your kids and how?, and 2) if you have not, what you can do to change that.

What Makes You Trust People or, Not?

Did you go to your parents when you needed to talk? Try to think back to the concerns and stresses you had when you were young. If you did go to your parents, why? When? If you didn't go to your parents for advice or to talk things through, why was that? Have you created similar barriers with your child? How might you start to break those barriers down? 

Acknowledgement Doesn't Equal Permissiveness

Teens and tweens are in a stage of pushing boundaries, learning about their own preferences, choice-making, and they're also experiencing strong emotions they may not be prepared to handle yet. The key is to impose appropriate consequences if your teen makes a bad or unsafe decision - and talk through the decision-making process. Sometimes the conversation is the appropriate consequence. Talk about alternatives or what healthy future choices might look like. Remember, we build trust through discussion, and it isn't a discussion if you don't equally listen and give a chance for response, disagreement, and compromise with your child. 

Photo by  Joe Yates  on  Unsplash

Photo by Joe Yates on Unsplash

What Does It Mean to Be A Trustworthy Person?

Another way of examining the type of environment you have created with your child is to analyze first on your own, what makes a person trustworthy? Ask your child what they consider makes someone trustworthy. Consider this list of characteristics:

  • empathetic

  • a good listener

  • honest

  • responsible

  • open

  • strong character

  • compassionate

Are you that person for your child? Point out the things you do intentionally to show them that they can trust you. If you identify areas in which you need to grow to be a more trustworthy person for your child, talk about that. For example, if you haven't been a good listener in the past, apologize and explain that you are working to be a better listener because you know that is important to a healthy relationship. 

How You React Matters

As parents, we each have unique personalities that react to situations differently. Part of building trust with your child is identifying how you are likely to respond in common situations, and finding ways to make sure that reaction is fair to your child. If you tend to react impulsively, give yourself a chance to pause and think through your response before committing to a stance on what your teen has brought up. If you tend to be quiet and struggle to contribute to conversations, practice modeling vulnerability, and openness. It can feel like a lot of pressure hearing that your reactions matter - but the reality is, you won't always react perfectly. What you can always do is apologize if you react in a way that hurts your child, and be vulnerable about how you plan to work on that response. 

You're Paving The Way for Future Healthy Relationships

Building trust with your children isn't just about you and them. When you model openness, pausing, active listening, apologizing, fairness, and trust, you're teaching your child what to look for in future friends and partners. 

Trust is a two-way street, so as you examine your current relationship with your child and think about plans to improve, involve them in that process. Sometimes just being open to ideas and sharing is enough. For example, you could say something like, "I read a blog today about building trust and how important it is to build with your kids. It gave me some ideas of ways we could communicate better and trust each other more." 

What are you currently doing to build trust? What’s working? What’s not?

Normalizing Trauma

Photo by  Tammy Gann  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tammy Gann on Unsplash

We’ve seen some recent high-profile suicides of people affected by the Parkland, Columbine and Newtown tragedies, including the father of a Sandy Hook victim, Jeremy Richman.

These deaths have happened amidst a health crisis: The CDC reports that the suicide rate for males and females has increased since 1975. The rates for females has doubled from 2007 to 2015.

In the most recent episode of Parenting Beyond the Headlines, Sarah Cody and I talked with Alicia Farrell, Cognitive Psychologist Specializing in family issues. She helped us better understand trauma and think through the idea of normalizing trauma to help us support loved ones and ourselves.


Dealing With Grief and Supporting Others Dealing with Grief

We all experience loss in many ways and when we are processing such deep emotions it can be hard to even make it through the day. Often we feel the pressure to act what others would deem appropriately and in fact, sobbing or anger might actually be appropriate but not accepted as such. And when someone close to us is going through the stages of loss, it can be hard to support them and often we find ourselves at a loss for words..

Sarah Cody and I recently had the pleasure of talking about dealing with grief and supporting others who are dealing with grief with Christa Doran, Founder of Tuff Girl Fitness. Christa bravely shared her own journey and how she works to help others build strength physically and emotionally.

One major take-away: sometimes we have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and simply endure the experience. Please listen to the newest episode of Parenting Beyond the Headlines. And if you like what you hear, share it with others!

Systemic Cheating

Photo by  Ben Mullins  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

The College Admissions Scandal continues to gain momentum as prosecutors pursue more charges. In our latest episode of Parenting Beyond the Headlines, Sarah Cody and I talked about the systematic cheating with Denise Pope, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Stanford University, Co-Founder of Challenge Success, and author of Doing School and Overloaded and Underprepared.

No one ever said parenting was easy, and it’s definitely different every day. But we cannot expect our kids to learn values or develop their own value system unless they have a strong model - and we can be that! Our conversation continues to explore the way we can help our kids and also how we can support our schools.

Talking About Specializing and Parent Involvement in Sports

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

We are seeing kids’ sports taken to a new level. We often sign our kids up for sports to teach them some new physical and social skills, and I know I assume it’s good for them to be moving. Kids have a lot of pressure on them and this is one more thing - and perhaps not a healthy thing to add into the mix. An article in Hartford Courant questions when a child should - and if a child should - specialize in sports? And, a in a recent article, Science Daily suggests that “Rushing kids to specialize in one sport may not be best path to success.”

And while we’re on the subject, I have recently been shocked by the parent conversations and engagement during kids’ games. What do you do when you hear something inappropriate? Are you guilty of getting a little too excited?

In our podcast, Parenting Beyond the Headlines, Sarah Cody and I talked with Peter Vint, an internationally recognized expert in sport science, performance technology, and sport analytics about the topic. He offers great advice on how to think about our approach to sports as parents and how to encourage kids to think about their own goals.

Managing Stress and Anxiety in Kids and Teens

We are seeing a major increase in depression and anxiety in kids relative to even just ten years ago. We know technology changes how we interact with one another to some degree. But news articles are also citing pressure about grades, getting into college, parents, romantic relationships, body image, family finances. On top of this there is stigma around getting help for mental healthcare.

“The APA’s Stress in America survey found that 30 percent of teens reported feeling sad or depressed because of stress and 31 percent felt overwhelmed. Another 35 percent of teens reported that stress caused them to lie awake at night and 26 percent said that they are overeating or eating unhealthy foods in the past month.”

In our podcast, Parenting Beyond the Headlines, Sarah Cody and I talked with Dr. Kristine Schlichting (my co-author of The Parenting Project) about What she is seeing in her practice as some of the main stressors for tweens and teens these days? She also offers some good advice on modeling and teaching coping strategies.