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Have you ever felt that your children don't fully trust you? This article will help your kids feel more comfortable and open around you.
Teach things to your child. When your child is open to conversation, try mentioning a topic that they don't know much about. If they seem interested, teach them some new things about it. They will consider you to be a reliable source of information.
- Try to engage with your child's interests. For example, if your daughter loves history, offer to tell her a story about the Revolutionary War.
- Pick out movies and library books to teach them about their favorite things. If your son enjoys drawing, bring home a book about drawing cartoons.
Always keep your promises. Sticking to your word shows that you are trustworthy, and they can count on you when they need you.
- If you aren't sure if you can keep a particular promise, don't make it.
- If something changes and absolutely forces you to break the promise, explain to your child what happened. Apologize sincerely, and offer to make it up to them.
A. Ideally, give them something better. For example, "I couldn't take you to your playdate because I was stuck in a huge traffic jam. To make it up to you, how about I help you plan a sleepover party, so you can play with all your friends?" If your son loves sleepovers, he should walk away feeling happy.
B. Only do this in emergencies. Too many broken promises, and your child will stop trusting you at all.
Treat your child like a friend. Respect them, and don't yell at them or pull parental authority on them (except in emergencies). Treating them like a competent and likable person will make them enjoy being with you.
Listen. Pay close attention when they talk to you, nod your head, and engage with the topic of conversation (even if it isn't your favorite topic). Show that you care about what they think. Seek to understand before you try to judge or correct them.
- Ask them about their day, and listen.
- Respect their emotions (even if they conflict with what you want). This signals that you care about them no matter what.
- Don't pry. If they don't want to tell you about something, accept that, and tell them that you'll be here if they need you. They will be much more likely to come to you when they feel ready.
Make time for your child. Closeness won't happen overnight, and it takes effort to form a trusting relationship with your child. Spending time together will show your child that they matter to you, and it will give you an opportunity to bond. You could go to a playground, do arts and crafts, engage with your child's hobbies, read books, attend local events, go for walks, et cetera.
Try to work with them when there is a problem, instead of working against them. For example, if your child shouted and slammed the door, ask him why he did that, and try to solve the problem. Help him find more constructive ways to respond to anger. Try making a list together.
- If your child is very upset, let them cool down before discussing the problem. Time spent in their room or in a calming down corner may be what they need first.
- Only raise your voice or threaten punishment if it is a severe and time-sensitive issue (e.g. a safety threat) or deliberate misbehavior (e.g. you've asked her several times to stop hitting, but she continued).
Respect who they are, quirks and all. If your son likes pink and purple, let him like pink and purple, and maybe buy him some pink and purple shirts. If your daughter is autistic, encourage her special interest in engineering, and tell her that she isn't a burden. Children feel much more trusting and secure if they feel that you are not at war with a fundamental part of who they are.
- Try not to interfere unless they're placing themselves in harm's way (e.g. smoking). If you're worried about them, make it clear that it's due to one specific action, not to their identity.
Let them know you love them. That's what they care about most.
Try to be there for your kid as much as you can.
Avoid being overprotective. Your child needs room to experiment in order to grow. You can always let them try, and offer to help if they are having a hard time with something.