Trust is a value we’d all like our children to learn. It is also a value that we can sometimes grapple with as parents.
Learning to trust your son completely can be challenging, especially if he is pushing the boundaries. However, research tells us that if we show trust, we gain trust and vice versa.
Healthy relationships are built on trust. So, what do we know about trust?
- Becoming trustworthy happens gradually, over many years.
- Trust is a moving continuum, from no trust to full trust.
- Trust is earned.
- Trust is a learned value.
- When trust is broken, relationships can be affected.
We must trust our children to make good decisions when we are not around to guide them, to make good choices when faced with adversity or a dilemma, and to seek our help when they are struggling with something. As our children grow and mature they take on more responsibility and as parents we have to offer up increasing levels of trust. Our teens are entrusted with money, the car, and making their own choices. So how do you teach your son to be trustworthy and in turn, subdue your protective instincts?
As a parent your children automatically trust you as you care, teach, guide and love them. In order to maintain this trust as children grow, it is important that you model trustworthy behaviour. Here are our four top tips for teaching your son trust, enabling you to trust him completely.
1. Keep your promises
Don’t make promises to your child that you have no intention keeping. While at times due to unforeseen circumstances we may need to break a promise, explain the reasons why, so that they understand and learn resilience and flexibility. By trusting that you will keep your word, your child will respect you and your decisions.
2. Attach consequences to actions
We all use the action/consequence tactic… “if you don’t clean up your room, you won’t get any screen time today.” Don’t attach consequences that are unrealistic and always follow through. This teaches your child about actions and reactions, and builds respect.
3. Praise trustworthiness
Praise your son when he demonstrates trustworthiness. If you praise this behaviour your son will be further encouraged to display it. Encourage honesty and praise your son for being upfront when he has done something wrong. Highlight and praise trustworthiness in others as well.
4. Give your children responsibilities
Probably one of the more difficult tasks for parents is to entrust our sons with age-appropriate responsibilities to give them the opportunity to display good judgement and decision making skills. If they fail at the task, use it as a learning opportunity and if they succeed, praise them and offer further freedom and privileges.
As he develops trustworthy behaviour, your son will:
- tell the truth
- follow through on commitments
- show that he is dependable
- learn from his mistakes.
During this process, breaches of trust are to be expected, especially as your son starts to explore boundaries. When this occurs, talk to your son about the consequences and why the behaviour is unacceptable, and try to remember what it was like for you at his age and show understanding.
God calls His children to be trustworthy, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” (Luke 16:10) Learning to trust your son completely can be a challenging thing. Just remember, by showing trust you will foster trust.
Trinity’s Pastoral Care guidelines focus on the fundamentals of good parenting — providing both care and discipline — enabling boys to grow into self-confident, trustworthy and resilient young men. Combined with on-going partnership between the School and home, your son will thrive in a consistent, caring and nurturing environment.
Your son will be guided and mentored by a network of key staff that is fully committed to helping him progress in and out of the classroom. By truly getting to know your son’s abilities and interests, his hopes and fears, he will be understood, encouraged and inspired in a way unique to Trinity Grammar School.
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