Trust is important in any job. There’s no other job in the world quite like parenting. With other jobs, you get sufficient training and even supervised practical experience sometimes. But with parenting, though the stakes are high and the learning curve is steep, you go in almost blind. That’s why trust is so vital to a parent-child relationship. In any relationship, we can forgive nearly anything if there is trust there. Trust builds that two-way openness and communication crucial in carrying out your parental responsibilities effectively. Without trust, connecting with your child is difficult. And without that connection, secure attachment, which is the foundation for healthy development, might not be as stable as it could be.
Building trust in a parent and child relationship takes deliberate and consistent actions that begin right from infancy. Babies communicate by crying, and you can’t always tell what it is that they need. But it’s still necessary that you pick them up and hold them instead of letting their crying run its course. According to research led by Carolyn Joy Dayton, Associate Director of Infant Mental Health Program Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, the act of soothing the baby not only boost parents’ confidence but also creates a growing sense of trust within the infant and sets the foundation for the establishment of positive parent-infant relationships. Here we more discuss that all that your child wants in a relationship is for it to be meaningful.
Importance of Trust in Parent-child Relationships
Your relationship with your child sets the foundation for the kind of person they will grow into. The child relates with other people and interprets the world based on the relationship dynamics between parent and child. Here are some reasons why it’s essential to build a relationship with your child:
- Children who have enjoyed a healthy parent-child relationship can handle trauma better. This is because they know how to seek comfort and can trust people enough to let them help. Children can often show anxiety due to a lack of trust in their parents being there. This can reflect in their schooling and future relationships.
- A good parent-child relationship enables the child to connect with others and cultivate healthy and beneficial relationships.
- A child in a good parent-child relationship learns how to regulate their emotions in difficult situations.
- A secure attachment helps the child develop confidence and strong problem-solving skills, which in turn boosts their academic performance.
- It promotes the expression of emotions, social interaction, and compatibility.
How Can I Build a Relationship With My Child?
Building a relationship with your child starts from the small things and then being not just consistent but mindfully present in each moment you share. Your investment in those moments alone tells your child that you love spending time with them. That presence of mind is important if parenting relationships are to flourish. Below are ways you can build a relationship based on trust with your child:
- Be there for them. Even if it is hard, early, or boring that you are having the same conversation again. Children are not there for your benefit. In any relationship, if you make anyone feel unimportant or secondary to other things, this will severely affect any bond. It can be tedious, but it needs to be nurtured at every opportunity for the trust to grow.
- Don’t be afraid to tell your child off. As long as you explain that when you tell your child off, it is done from a position of love and wanting them to learn, it will be respected rather than a position of anger. Children know that telling them off is not easy. The importance of discipline is covered here.
- Start from the very beginning. Starting from the beginning means starting right from infancy. Soothing, playing, and hanging out with the baby supports early developmental and relationship processes. Mothers are more likely to take a break from work to care for infants. So fathers are more likely to lose out on the early stages unless they make a conscious effort to be involved during the times they are present with the child.
- Make unstructured, uninterrupted time as much as you can. Making uninterrupted time can be challenging in such a busy world. But it is crucial for building parent-child relationships. An uninterrupted time requires unplugging and taking a break from your phone so that you’re entirely present in the moment. Allow your child to choose what they want to do. However, if the time is unstructured and you have to do chores or something else, try involving your child as much as you can. You can give the child an object they can easily handle and is connected with whatever you’re doing. This way, the child remains connected to you.
- Show interest in whatever your child is doing. Showing your child that you’re interested in what they are doing sends the message that you genuinely care about them. You can show your interest by commenting on what the child is doing, describing it, or asking about the process. You can get involved if the child will allow it. However, getting involved is not the same thing as taking over. If you do get involved, try not to give in to the urge to do something else halfway because you’re bored. Let them show you how Minecraft works. The importance of doing things with your children can not be underestimated. Computer game time is a great example where all that trust you have built makes life easier. If they know and trust that they will get that hour later in the day it takes all the pressure off.
- Allow yourself to be silly. Allow yourself to be occasionally silly, but watch the line, so you don’t become your child’s buddy. Silliness keeps things light between both of you. It makes you approachable. And that’s an excellent way to keep communication channels open. Even adults find it difficult to approach people who don’t seem approachable. So at home, make those silly faces, those goofy dances, and sing those upbeat songs.
- Don’t let the rift grow wider. Every relationship requires daily interactions to blossom. This means that some days you or your child will do something to upset the other person. For the relationship to continue to flourish, you must not let those small rifts fester.
It all begins with not taking what your child does personally. If the child slams the door in your face, it’s more about them and their feelings than it is about you. When you’re both calm, find a way to work through it instead of withdrawing.
How to Build Trust in a Parent-child Relationship
It’s important to know that building trust in the relationship you have with your child is made up of a series of small steps. It’s a continual effort that requires daily commitment to keep it. Here are some practical ways to achieve this goal:
- Be open. Parenting isn’t about keeping a perfect front. Being open and volunteering information is an invitation for your child to trust you and do the same. Share what you can, be it your fears, failures, or triumphs. You don’t need to share everything, but you also don’t have to be so guarded either. Your child will respect you and your opinion more if they see that you are fallible and make errors, and feel insecure. You might not want to think of your child having sex, but it can’t be avoided.
- Be truthful. Honesty breeds trust. When you say something, your child needs to believe it because they trust you. So learn to tamp down on using white lies and start telling age-appropriate truths. Telling the truth to your child also teaches them positive moral ethics.
- Keep your promises. This one makes me weep. If you can’t keep a commitment to your child, who can you keep it for? Even if it is a small promise about picking something up, do it. Your child needs to be confident that you will keep your word. So if you promise something, follow through on your word. It is essential not to make unrealistic promises and not use your promise as a deflection tactic because you don’t want to refuse your child.
- Be an example. Being an example to your child includes treating other people in the family in a way you’d want your child to emulate. Practice fairness and always follow through on your word. On the days you fail, explain to your child why it happened, if relevant.
- Listen and show respect. When your child is speaking to you, give them your undivided attention. This builds trust between both of you. Try to make eye contact as they talk. Also, it would be best if you showed your child respect always. You can do this and still be in charge. A respected child is more likely to trust their parents enough to confide in them. Here we discuss more about modeling and describing healthy relationships.
Final Thoughts For The Importance of Trust
A relationship based on love and trust between you and your child will take time and effort to build. Continue to give your child reasons to trust you, and they will. Keeping that trust will require consistency, commitment, and practice.