Building Trust And Respect
Parenting Today Presented by Seattle Children’s
For children and their caregivers, trust and respect are essential for a strong, healthy relationship. From the day a baby is born, we make them feel safe and secure when we give them what they need. Over time, this foundation of support helps a child develop positive self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience, which can all contribute to mental wellness. Here are some ideas to ensure that as your child matures, mutual trust and respect are at the center of your relationship.
Respond to their needs. When you consistently meet your child’s physical and emotional needs over time, they grow up knowing they can depend on you. This deep feeling of security means that, at any age, they’ll be able to come to you for help and advice.
Be steady and reliable. Be consistent with your words and actions and try to always keep your promises. If you take your child to school or pick them up after, be on time. If you’ve promised a special outing or said that you’ll attend their school event or game, follow through.
Set and enforce family rules. It’s a good thing to have rules that are fair, firm and logical. Reasonable, consistent rules help children feel safe and cared for, and understand what’s expected of them. And as kids learn to follow the rules, they earn more trust and respect from their caregivers — and thus more freedom.
Show that you understand and approve of them. Commit to fully understanding and embracing your child for exactly who they are. Show them that you approve of them and that you respect their feelings and opinions. Develop an interest in whatever interests them.
Be an open, active listener. Whenever possible, give your child your full attention when they’re talking to you. Nod, look them in the eyes and react with your facial expressions. If they have a problem, be empathetic and help them work out their own solution, rather than solving it for them. Listen more than you talk.
Entrust them with responsibilities. Allowing your child to do chores — and eventually master these tasks — boosts their confidence and resourcefulness. It also shows them that you trust them. When your child is ready, encourage them to take age-appropriate paying jobs. These experiences will develop their self-reliance and independence.
Love, affection, acceptance, safety and security are all more powerfully felt when they are rooted in trust and respect!