Last week I held my masterclass, which went down a storm, and in case you missed it I’m sharing one of the topics that we talked about here.
It’s my top parenting tip of all time, underpinning everything else that I talk about.
Trust your child. Trust that they’ll find their way, and turn out okay.
Watch the video or scroll down to read more…
I always put in a caveat, when talking about trust. I don’t mean trust them with dangerous things like roads before they’re ready. Nor is it about laissez-faire parenting – just leaving it all up to them. Children need us to guide them and support them, every step of the way. But when that guidance and support is underpinned by a basic attitude of trust, it’s so helpful.
What do I mean by trust?
One dictionary definition is, ‘to believe in the ability of another’. So I encourage you to believe in your child’s ability to find their way, to cope with life’s difficulties, and to turn out okay.
Trust is also about believing in your child’s best intentions.
Why is it a good idea to trust our children?
1. Firstly, because it makes sense! The child psychologist, Ross Greene, says, “Kids do well when they can.” It’s so true. And when kids’ behaviour is challenging it’s because they’re feeling challenged. Let’s trust them to be doing their best.
2. Secondly, trusting our children turns us into happier parents. It’s so much easier to be calm, to be loving, all the things we want to be as parents, when we’re trusting our children. It’s an antidote to parental worry, guilt, rage and resentment.
3. Thirdly, trusting our children sends such a great message to them. Feeling that someone believes in your ability and believes in your best intentions, is such a great feeling, helping us feel confident in our own abilities. So it follows that our trust helps children develop confidence and the sense that they are fundamentally okay.
What happens without trust?
When challenging behaviours arise, we tend to panic.
1. Our thoughts often jump straight to dreadful future scenarios where our children have no friends, have no job, are outcasts – all because we failed to help them with a specific problem, like their anger, for example.
2. We feel it’s an emergency, that shouldn’t be happening – and that we need to solve it quickly.
3. We worry about what people would think about our kids’ rude or angry behaviour, putting extra pressure on ourselves and on our children.
Not surprisingly these worrying thoughts make us lose our cool quite fast. So it’s not actually our children’s behaviour, that we react to. It’s our own panicky thoughts!
Trust is so important because it helps us have calm trusting thoughts that support us to respond how we want to respond – in a calm way, in a kind way.
How can we put trust into action?
First of all, everything I teach – all the strategies, perspectives and stories that I share – will help you trust your child more. So keep reading, keep watching, keep showing up for my free events and reach out to me with any questions you may have.
Then, for a practical step, identify an area where you could stand back and give your child more space and time to work things out for themselves. Here are a few examples.
#1 Trust their appetite
The first example is around how much they eat. If you’ve got the habit of pressing your child to eat a little bit more, saying for example, “Just one more mouthful…” – why not let it go? Trusting children to know how much they’d like to eat has been shown, over and over again, to support healthy eating and healthy appetites.
#2 Let your child do it their way
Find an area where you could let them do it their way, if it’s safe to do so. For example, if your child is at that stage where they like to mix all the paint colours until they get a kind of brown sludge, don’t intervene. Trust them and their learning process – they will find their way.
#3 Sibling squabbles
Give your children more space to solve their own sibling squabbles. Mums that I work with find they have a lot of success with sibling squabbles, simply by not intervening until/unless it’s absolutely necessary – and they find that the children work things out more successfully for themselves.
Those are some of the whats, whys and hows of trust.
Trust is one of my Six Wise Parenting Powers The six of them together offer you a loving, healthy, 21st Century way of running your family – without needing to fall back on traditional methods, like timeout, telling off or rewards.
You can get the overview, with lots of practical example, in my guide – Solve the Struggle with your Kids.
Solve the Struggle with Your Kids
The 6 Wise Parenting Powers
Download my no cost guide to raising a secure and happy family.