1 sure fire way to know what is going on in your children’s lives
Wouldn’t you want for your children confiding in you what is really bothering them instead of them just going to their rooms in silence once they come home from school? That is one of many challenges facing parents, but this one can really hurt. There is a powerful antidote to this phenomenon that is as effective as it is simple, at least on a conceptual level: You keep earning their trust.
Yes, I know. This is easier said than done, but there are a few strategies that can help get you positioned in a sweet spot where you keep getting enough information so you know what is on their minds.
- Keep yelling to a minimum. Once you go overboard there is enough distrust for them to no longer see an incentive to telling you the truth if they get yelled at for revealing something that may get them into further trouble. Push too hard and you push the good information below surface.
- Spend the evening dinner together with no TV on. A shared meal with no distractions can sometimes reveal troublesome information from your short ones.
- Bedtime, make it count: What was really fun today? What wasn’t? Two really important questions to ask your young folks. The older they get, the tougher it is getting the answers, but their replies will most likely take your breath away.
- Time to trust them. Yup, this is another tough one. Letting go as a parent is just as tough as for e.g. teenagers trying to find their own identity. Make sure to let them do stuff totally on their own. This is really important as your children are evaluating whether or not they can trust you – just as well as you are reviewing their activities.
- Start early. The sooner you start you trusting and encouraging them, the longer and the more they will trust and confide in you. Trying making a change when they are already teenagers may be a little too late to have a really close relationship. It may not be impossible, but ultimately it is very difficult to regain trust.
- Be consistent. Do not be surprised if your children do not trust you with their information, when you are nice and trustworthy only when you want to be. Trust is about being consistent and thus predictable.
If you want for your children to change and keep/ start trusting you, you first must make the effort to change yourself. Does this take some extra time? Sure thing. That is why we are calling this parenting though and not baby-sitting.