Trust is the foundation of every parent-child relationship. You cannot develop a close relationship with your child without trust. Here are a few tips for building a trusting relationship with your child:
When your child trusts you, there is the expectation that they can come to you to talk about anything. To reach this point, you must communicate. Talk about everything! Talk about your days, tell each other stories, share how you’re feeling, etc. Children lead by example, so this should be an equal exchange. Making a habit out of sharing your feelings with your child will encourage them to do the same in return.
When it comes to communicating with your child, they may tell you something that triggers an emotional response. Anger and disappointment are natural, healthy human emotions—but we must learn how to express these emotions. If you want your child to trust you and continue sharing their experiences, you must learn emotional intelligence. You must learn to respond rather than react. Responding is thoughtful, while reacting is impulsive.
When your child shares something with you that upsets you, resist the urge to shout or lash out. First, take some time to self-regulate. Take some deep breaths and think about how you’re going to respond. A child will never fully trust someone who lacks emotional intelligence.
Your child will never trust you if you dismiss their emotions and experiences. Just like adults, children experience big feelings too. No matter the age, we all experience sadness, shame, disappointment, anger, jealousy, happiness, etc. When your child is expressing their emotions, validate their experiences. Even if your child may not have reacted to these emotions in the healthiest way, you can still acknowledge that you understand where they’re coming from. It’s easier to teach your child emotional intelligence than it is to repair a strained relationship with your child.
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