Eight steps to a trusting relationship between children and parents
Jul 12, 2019
“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 experience 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 can lead to constant stress. In the end, both children and parents suffer.
Every parent wants to know how to earn and avoid losing the trust of their child. You want to be sure that the child will hear and accept your advice and share his/her experiences with you in difficult situations. 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 when it is lost, and how to reestablish a trusting relationship with the child.
- Trust is the basis for family well-being
- How to tell that your child’s trust is lost
- How to establish a trusting relationship with a child: advice from psychologist
Trust is the basis for family well-being
Think about what “parenting” means to you. For many 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 in this way a 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’ desires. Children pass through different stages of development by watching adults and imitating them They listen to 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 the 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 then the child will often feel abandoned and unloved. The child is under constant stress, trying to earn love in all possible ways, and throwing all his/her resources only to this. There is little strength left for study, play or socialization.
Often this may result in a dysfunctional situation within the family, the emergence of addictions – the use of which the child seeks comfort – and psychosomatic diseases. In adulthood, this can result in psychological trauma, problems in family relationships and low self-esteem. Finally, a person whose trust in parents has been broken ceases to trust the world, becoming hostile to it and constantly feeling hostility in response.
How to tell that your child's trust is lost
“My daughter’s character has completely deteriorated. She has isolated herself and almost stopped talking about her life and sharing her thoughts and impressions. She comes home, closes the door in her room, and doesn’t let me in. She also asks me to knock before I enter, even though it is not expected 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 and she even called me her best friend. I don’t want her to distance herself from the family. How can I regain the trust of my 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 become worse, or they are experiencing a teenage crisis. As a result, parents do not consider it necessary to change their behavior. They try to “correct” children with the same punishments or long lectures about their behavior, or they simply accept that their child is untrusting. As a result, children feel even more lonely, become withdrawn and completely cease to believe in the wisdom of adults.
Here are the signs that make it easy to tell whether 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/she has stopped talking to you and talking about him/herself;
- friends are not introduced and they are not invited home;
- snapping is the response to innocuous questions;
- the answer to the question “how are you?” is abrupt;
- he/she stops asking questions and asking for something;
- problems are not discussed problems, he/she’s always “all right”;
- you learn about failures from teachers, not from the child.
If you initially failed to build a trusting relationship with your child, then these signs may have always been there. In such cases, behavioral therapy or the advice of a psychologist can help.
How to establish a trusting relationship with a child: advice from a psychologist
Trusting relationships between parents and children do not grow on their own, you need to work at them. It is advisable to start this work when you first plan to have children. Of course, it is parents who are responsible for developing trusting relationships. It is their behavior which determines whether children will feel comfortable at home and whether they will trust relatives.
If the above signs resemble your situation and you want to understand how to gain the trust of your child, read the advice of psychologists on how to behave with children to build up a good relationship.
- 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 for 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 enduring love, even if the child has done something wrong.
- 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 even keep 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 being contradictory.
- 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 small child complains of being afraid of a monster under the bed do not immediately say that everything has been invented and the monster does not exist. You should understand that a small child can have such irrational fears, because he/she does not know how the world works, and much is still unknown. The same thing is relevant 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 has had no such experience before and has not yet learned to deal with it appropriately.
Do not devalue your child’s 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 him/herself, because of the absolute certainty that the child’s feelings mean nothing to you. Listen without interruption and offer support without criticism, appraisal judgments or unsolicited advice. Instead, express your understanding, your empathy and 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 establish a lifelong trusting relationship. 
- Respect your child’s opinion and allow them to make their own choices
Remember that children are fully-fledged family members and broadcast the fact that their opinions on important family issues are valuable. Yes, probably the final decision is made by the parents but only after all the family members, even the smallest ones have been allowed to express their opinions. In matters that directly concern your children — for example, the choice of clothing or food in the cafeteria — the decisions should be made by them. This will not only teach the child to be independent, but also demonstrate that trust has been established.
- Respect the child’s personal space and time
Unfortunately, many parents consider the desires of children for personal space and free time to be unimportant. They are dissatisfied when the child just lies on the couch and does nothing. They feel they can go into the room of the teenager without knocking, and some even read their personal correspondence and diaries, explaining it with the excuse that it is 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, like all of us, he/she has the right to a secret correspondence, solitude, free time, and basic respect towards a personal life, which is not merely limited to study and household chores.
- Ask for help
A request for help is a signal of trust 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 and to feel that they contribute to it. Allow children to prove themselves, develop responsibility and grow up receiving respect. The key point is expressing these requests as requests, not accusations or criticism. 
At the same time, it is important not to shift the responsibility to the child or impose unbearable responsibilities. Do not patronize them by giving only part of suitable responsibilities.
- Expand the boundaries
Sometimes the child has grown up and yet parents still treat him/her like a child. Don’t forget to revise your views and rules from time to time. For example, you can sometimes let a teenager go to a friend for a night — if you know the family, of course. As they get older, children need to be given more freedom. If you show distrust, they will respond in kind.
- 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 your parenting is based on, what values you want to instill in your children and how your words and actions might affect them.
It is ideal to understand why you wish to raise your children in the way you choose and not otherwise and 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, perhaps you 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.
The training takes place remotely and takes from 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 the 7Spsy technique you will learn a new behavior pattern and be able to build a trusting relationship with your child, overcome distrust, and teach your child to trust you. This will positively impact your life and the future of your children.
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