I remember when I was 5-years-old my parents told me that I could travel with them to pick up some furniture at my aunt and uncles home in Edina, MN. Traveling to Edina from our house was a 3 to 4 hour trip, one way. Wow! I struggled to fall asleep that night in anticipation of the “big trip” the next day! Do you know what this invitation meant to a 5 year old boy? This meant getting out of school (kindergarten) for a day, traveling alone with mom and dad in our grain truck and leaving my two brothers back at home because they had to go to school the next day. For a 5 year old boy, this was like a once-in-a-life-time experience! Not once did I question if my parents would fulfill their promise to me that day. When they told me that we were going to do something they kept their word. At a very young age my parents had earned a great gift, my trust.
H. Jackson Brown said, “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” William Shakespeare wrote, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”
Do you want your children to grow up trusting your word? Do you want your children to know that you can be counted on, that you are sincere, genuine and trustworthy? When we earn the trust of our sons and daughters we have received a tremendous gift. Respecting our kids is vital to becoming trustworthy parents.
Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott in their book, The Parent You Want To Be, provided a list of common ways to demonstrate respect to your child:
- Make eye contact when your child is talking to you.
- Knock before entering his/her room, especially if the door is closed.
- Value your child’s need for fun and the time he spends with his friends.
- Give them space to have different opinions and preferences than you (or other members of the family).
- Value your child’s need for privacy. Don’t open her mail or listen in on her phone conversations.
- If your child is struggling with something and is in no danger of getting hurt, hurting someone else, or ruining something valuable, ask him if he wants help before you step in and do something for him.
- When someone asks your child a question, let your child answer for himself. Resist the temptation to speak for your child, especially when he is present.
Are you exactly what you claim to be or are you pretending to be something you are not? Reliable, trustworthy and genuine parents are comfortable in their own skin and deserving of their children’s trust. Keep your word and you will have the greatest gift from your kids, their trust!