Much of the influence we can have on our children will depend on the trust they have in us. Winning the trust of children or regaining it if we have lost it is on many occasions a preliminary and indispensable step in order to be able to help them.
The first difficulty in gaining the trust of children concerns the very definition of trust. It does not consist in the fact that they tell us absolutely everything or that they see their parents as equal to their friends, but rather that they know they can count on them and express their needs.
Trust means reaching agreements with another person and trusting him to do his part, revealing information that we do not want to go beyond the boundaries of the relationship.
To win the trust of children, it is necessary to respect them and consider them as people with whom they may have different ideas from ours; at the same time admitting that they may feel vulnerable or have difficulty managing uncertainty.
“Do not spare your children the difficulties of life, but teach them to overcome them.”
Respect is necessary to win the trust of children
Parents and children have asymmetrical relationships. The former give orders, guide and make final decisions. The latter can and must express themselves, they have the right to voice their objections and to propose different points of view, but in the end they must obey.
It is very important for children that the authority figure is consistent. They don’t want a friend who is on their level, but someone to serve as a reference, role model or guide. This is why it is not good to be treated as an equal. It is important to encourage such a scenario from an early age, otherwise it will be very difficult to achieve later.
Why is this an effective way to win the trust of children? A child expects parents to be able to steer the ship and that, even if they make a few mistakes, they will have faith in themselves. This gives them the feeling of being on solid ground and creates the basis for trusting themselves as well.
Time, attention and reinforcement
A parent is a guide, but he shouldn’t act like a judge. As a rule, a child appreciates that the parent accepts and acknowledges his or her efforts and abilities, to a great extent, because one of their biggest motivations is usually to gain this recognition.
Furthermore, he must be able to correct it with love and with the healthy intention of improving it. By offering all this, the child will welcome in an equally kind way.
It is also important to spend quality time with your children, sharing activities that they can learn from, but also have fun. In this shared time, dialogue must not take precedence: it is possible to know the children by how they act and by the decisions they make, not only by their speeches.
We emphasize this point because many parents tend to turn this shared time into an interrogation.
Respect their privacy
Expressing your feelings is a good way to win the trust of your children. Of course, they won’t share the more intimate aspects, like you do with a peer, but you can show them how it feels, what you want, what worries, etc.
It is very important to maintain open communication with children, and to do so in a way that respects their priorities in the conversation. They may want to keep some things to themselves, and that’s right.
They just need to know that we are willing to listen when they want to speak, that they will be a priority when they need you.
Manage difficult times with intelligence to win the trust of children
Moments of crisis or difficulty are particularly important. Returning to the initial idea, you trust someone when they respect their commitments and maintain confidentiality.
If children feel they can rely on their parents in difficult times, they will be more likely to trust them. They will turn to them to find the answers that worry them and will also be a source of inspiration and a role model for life in many ways.
By tracing this path from childhood, they will be less likely to stray so far in their quest for autonomy that they cannot help them. The foundations of a good adolescence, of a healthy parent-child relationship, are established in childhood.