I’m just back from a holiday in Somerset with a friend, and my 17-year-old son decided to join us at the last minute.
When my friend was leaving, we were walking through the garden and she said, ‘It’s been so lovely spending time with you and your son. And something I really noticed was that you’re not on top of him all the time – getting him to do this or do that, like I am. You give him a lot of space.’
And I said to her, ‘Yes, I trust him.’
And she said, ‘Yes, and it creates a lot of peace at home. I wish I could go back now and do the same with my sons.’
Trust is such an important part of our parenting. It’s key to having a peaceful family.
Watch the video or scroll down to read more…
But what is trust? A dictionary definition is that to trust is ‘to believe in the ability of another.’
And so, in the context of parenting, trust is about believing in your child’s ability to overcome difficulties and develop into a happy, fulfilled and positive human being.
N.B. What trust isn’t about is trusting your child with dangerous situations, like hot pans, roads, deep water or anything like that. It’s probably our primary role as parents to keep our children safe.
Instead, trust is a deep process, to do with taking a long term view. It’s about trusting your child to turn out okay.
So why is this ultimate parenting tip so important for a peaceful family? Because, trust me, it really is…
#1 – ‘I believe in you.’
When we trust our children, we give them that message.
And what could be more empowering than that?
Recently, the same 17-year-old went on his first city break with friends to Brighton, staying overnight. On the second day he rang up towards the end of the afternoon and said, ‘Hey Mum, I was going to come back at six but actually, we’re going to be staying a couple of hours longer. We’re going to come back at eight. Is that okay?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine.’
When he got home, he said, ‘Mum, you’re just so relaxed. All the other parents were really anxious about children coming home, and the kids were anxious too. And there were anxious phone calls’
I said, ‘I trust you.’ And he said, ‘Yes.’
And then I reflected. I said to him, ‘I think I’ve always trusted you.’
He paused for a moment and said, ‘And that’s why I trust myself.’
That was a very lovely thing for me to hear as a parent – I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment. But more importantly, I wanted you to hear that connection – that because I trusted him over all these years, he now feels trust in himself and is able to do courageous things – which he does.
My journey with trusting my son goes back to a time when he was just a year old and he was biting me. It caused me a lot of pain.
I consulted someone – a parenting expert like me. She said, ‘You can’t make him stop, just guide him gently and trust him. He will stop.’ And he did. After just a few weeks.
That episode sowed the seed of an idea of how important trust was in my relationship with my son. And I’ve continued that ever since.
If you trust in your children, they develop trust in themselves. And what is trust in themselves? It’s confidence.
#2 – When you trust your children you have a much more peaceful parenting experience
It’s not all on your shoulders anymore. When you trust your child you realise that you don’t have to make them kinder or more intelligent or more anything. You give them space to be themselves and develop in their own way.
When you don’t feel the pressure to fix everything straight away, and you have more trust in their long-term development, you feel more peaceful. And when you are more peaceful, you exude peace and calm. This impacts your child’s behaviour and they will be more peaceful too, which is what most of us want, isn’t it? We want to be a calm parent. We want our children to be calmer and more peaceful too.
Trust is the way.
It’s also true to say that there are very few situations in a child’s life that are actual emergencies. But very often we panic and think we’ve got to fix things straight away. We’ve got to stop this behaviour, change what’s happening make our kids aware of x, y or z.
Instead, why not tell yourself, “This is not an emergency” and choose trust? When you trust your child, you exude peace – and your child will be grateful.
How can you put this into practice?
Choose one area where you think you could stand back and give your child more space.
One example might be mealtimes. Trust your child to know their own appetite – to know how much they need to eat of any given food that you’ve offered them, and stop saying things like, ‘Just one more bite…’ or anything else that you say to persuade your child to eat. Is that a thing that you do?
If this isn’t something that you do, then choose another area where you could just give your child a little space. Let your child take their time to get involved in something, for example, without feeling the need to say, “Go on, why don’t you join in?” Or allow them space and time to struggle a bit and work out something difficult for themselves.
Trust them to find a way.
If you’d like to talk this through with someone, like I did, why not book a complimentary call with me. I’d love to talk with you.
And to read more about why I believe trust is so important for a happy family life, here’s another blog post you might like.
Solve the Struggle with Your Kids
The 6 Wise Parenting Powers
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