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8 steps to a trusting relationship between children and parents

12.07.2019 Author: psiholog pavel horoshutin
trust between child and parent

“My husband and I have a son growing up, and he will soon be three years old. This is our first child, very beloved and long-awaited. Of course, we want him to grow up happy and to feel loved. I know how important it is to build a trusting relationship with a child. But, unfortunately, I did not get such a relationship with my parents. I have no experience that I can rely on in raising children. I don’t want to repeat the mistakes of my father and mother, I want my family to be happier. I think it’s important even now, because my son is already beginning to express himself as a person.”

— Anastasia, mother of three-year-old Pasha

Trust between parents and children is especially important. This connection for the child is the most important one; it is the key to a happy childhood, a healthy psyche, and therefore well-being in adult life. It is trust that should be the basis for raising children. If the family lacks this, conflicts begin to arise at home, which leads to constant stress. In the end, both children and parents suffer.

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Every parent wants to know how to earn and avoid losing trust of the child. Because then you can be sure that the child will hear and accept your advice, and share his experiences with you in a difficult situation. Therefore, this article is relevant for anyone who has children or who plans to have them in the future. We will tell you why trust is so important in parenting, how to understand that it is lost, and how to establish a trusting relationship with the child.

Contents:

  1. Trust is the base for family well-being
  2. How to tell that your child’s trust is lost
  3. How to establish a trusting relationship with a child: advice from psychologist

Trust is the base for family well-being

Think about what “parenting” means to you. For most people, it is associated with punishments, lecturing and constant preaching on how to live. Parents are still perceived not as mentors and older friends, but as supervisors, whose task is to make sure that the child “behaves properly”.

It is assumed that this way child will form certain character traits. But the truth is that raising a child is a continuous and involuntary process, and not just individual lectures. It goes on constantly regardless of parents’ desire. Children go by different stages of development by watching adults and imitating them, by listening how they communicate with each other when doing something together and even in some everyday situations, such as during a joint trip to the store. And we’re not even addressing the fact that it is not only parents who influence personal development of a child.

That is why the consistent emotional trust-based interaction between children and parents is important. If there is no trusting relationship with parents, if all communication boils down to the very targeted educational process, the child often feels abandoned and unloved. He is under constant stress, trying to earn love in all possible ways, and throwing all his resources only to this. He doesn’t have strength for study, play or socialization left.

Often this may result in a dysfunctional situation in the family, the emergence of addictions, using which the child is trying to find comfort, psychosomatic diseases. In adulthood, this leads to psychological trauma, problems in relationships in the family and low self-esteem. Finally, a person whose trust in parents has been broken ceases to trust the world, becomes hostile to it and constantly feels hostility in response.

How to tell that your child’s trust is lost

lost the trust of a child

“My daughter’s character has completely deteriorated. She isolated herself, almost stopped talking about her life, sharing thoughts and impressions. She comes home, closes in the room and doesn’t let me in. She also asks me to knock when I come in, even though it is not accepted at our home at all. She answers abruptly or doesn’t answer at all to questions where she was and what she did. I attribute it to adolescence, but still worry about her and our relationship. We used to live in complete harmony; she even called me her best friend. I don’t want her to distance from family. How to regain the trust of the child? It’s very important to me.”

– Tatyana, mother of 13-year-old Vasilina

Alas, often parents do not notice the first signs of loss of trust in the family. It seems to them that the child’s character has simply gotten worse, or they are experiencing a teenage crisis. As a result, parents do not consider it necessary to change their behavior, and try to “correct” children with the same punishments or long lectures about their behavior, or they simply accept that their child is so untrusting. As a result, children feel lonely even more, become withdrawn and completely cease to believe in adults.

Below are the signs that make it easy to tell that the trusting relationship with the child has been broken:

  • the child is constantly locked in the room and categorically forbids you to go there;
  • he stopped talking to you, talking about himself;
  • he doesn’t introduce his friends, he stopped inviting them home;
  • he snaps in response to innocuous questions;
  • the answer to the question “how are you?” is abrupt;;
  • he stops asking questions and asking for something;
  • he doesn’t talk about problems, he’s always “all right”;
  • you learn about his failures from teachers, not from a child

If you initially failed to build a trusting relationship with your child, then these signs may have always been there. In this case, behavioral therapy or advice of a psychologist can also help. 

How to establish a trusting relationship with a child: advice from a psychologist

psychologist's advice trust with the child

Trusting relationship between parents and children do not grow on their own, you need to work on them — and it is advisable to start this work when you only plan to have children. Of course, it is parents who are responsible for developing trusting relationship. Their behavior determines whether children will feel comfortable at home, whether they will trust relatives.

If the above signs resemble your situation and you want to understand how to gain the trust of the child, read the advice of psychologists on how to behave with children to build a good relationship.

1. Take your child as he/she is.

It is important for children of any age to know that parents love them unconditionally, will always accept and will not condemn them. They must know that there are people in the world who can come to the rescue in any situation. Self-esteem, trust in the world and the ability to love are all based on this belief. Therefore, learn to accept your child in any mood — and, of course, do not forget to talk more often about your love, even if the child has done something wrong again. 

2. Be consistent in parenting

If parents establish a rule or ban, and the next day behave as if it did not exist, the child’s worldview will be violated. He/she becomes convinced that parents cannot be trusted, because they cannot keep even such a promise. Therefore, having made a decision, be faithful to it to the end. Having established the rules in the family, follow them yourself, otherwise the children will perceive your behavior as hypocritical. Keep your promises and try to keep your principles from contradicting each other.

3. Listen to the child and take their words seriously

This is also very important for children’s self-esteem and trust in parents. For example, when a kid complains that he is afraid of a monster under the bed do not immediately say that he invented everything and the monster does not exists. You should understand that a small child can have such irrational fears, because he does not know how the world works, and much is unknown for him. The same thing is with teenagers. When a grown-up son is worried about breaking up with a girl, you do not need to reassure him with the words “You’ll have ten more such girls.” First love, and even more so, parting, is always perceived more acutely simply because the teenager had no such an experience before and has not yet learned to treat it correctly. 

Do not devalue his experiences, because for children their problems seem very serious. Just a couple of careless phrases from you are enough for the child to permanently withdraw into himself, because he is absolutely sure that his feelings mean nothing to you. Listen to him without interrupting. Try to do it without criticism, appraisal judgments and unsolicited advice. Instead, express your understanding, your empathy, ask if there is anything you can do to help. More often than not, the child needs to simply be listened to without unnecessary words. It’s complicated – but it’s the right way to a lifelong trusting relationship. [1] 

4. Respect your child’s opinion and allow them to make their own choices

Remember that children are full-fledged family members, and broadcast the idea that their opinion on important family issues is also valuable. Yes, the final decision is made by the parents but only after all the family members, even the smallest ones, express their opinion. In matters that directly concern the child — for example, the choice of clothing or food in the cafeteria — the decision should be made by him. This will not only teach the child to be independent, but also demonstrate that his parents trust him.

5. Respect the child’s personal space and time

Unfortunately, many parents consider the desire of children for personal space and free time to be a whim. They are dissatisfied when the child just lies on the couch and does nothing, they can go to the room of the teenager without knocking, and some even read personal correspondence and diaries, explaining it with concern for their child’s safety. It is not surprising that in such a situation children stop trusting their parents, because, paradoxically, in such conditions they do not feel safe at all. Do not forget that your child is an individual, and he, like all of us, has the right to a secret correspondence, solitude, free time and basic respect towards his personal life, which is not limited to study and household chores.

6. Ask for help

The request for help is a signal that they are trusted for each and every person. Children, of course, are no exception. For them it is very important not only to receive care from you, but also to give something in return. They also want to be a full participant in family life, to feel that they contribute to it. Allow children to prove themselves, develop responsibility and grow up. The key point is expressing these requests as requests, not accusations or criticism. [1]

At the same time, it is important not to shift the responsibility to the child and not to impose unbearable responsibilities on him, and to give only part of the duties, taking into account the amount of his free time.

7. Expand the boundaries

Sometimes the child has grown up and yet you are still treating him like a child. Don’t forget to revise your views and rules sometimes. For example, you can sometimes let a teenager go to a friend for a night — if you know his family, of course. As they get older, children need to be given more freedom. If you show distrust, they will respond in kind.

8. Be deliberate

To raise a happy and prosperous child it is important to approach parenting with one’s eyes open. This means that you need to have a clear understanding of what principles it is based on, what values you want to instill in your children and how your words and actions affect them.

It is ideal to understand why you raise children in the way you do and not otherwise, what attitudes in your subconscious make you behave with children in the way you do. If you’re not comfortable with something, if you feel you’re losing trust, you likely need to work on yourself first and change your behavior.

You can do this with the 7Spsy behavior modification technique. This is a patented behavior psychology technique based on the theories of I.P. Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A. Ukhtomsky and others. With the help of this method you can change the subconscious mindset that prevents you from building a trusting relationship with your child.

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The training takes place remotely and takes 2 to 6 weeks. During the course you will be able to seek support from a professional psychologist who will be in touch in online chat, by e-mail or phone.

With 7Spsy technique you will learn a new behavior pattern and be able to build trusting relationship with your child, overcome your distrust and teach your child to trust. This will positively impact your life and the future of your children.

Reference: 

  1. Marvin Marshall, «Vospitanie bez stressa».