Let’s Get Connected: Building Trust

In our last parenting article, we explored the four parenting styles; authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved, and authoritative. We discovered that the authoritative parenting style is our “targeted” style of parenting, because it is based on God’s model of parenting us. This style of parenting builds a foundation of trust and creates a long-lasting relationship with our children. Let’s review the qualities of the Authoritative Parenting model.

This parent. . .

•Teaches and guides.

•Is reliable and available.

•Sets limits and guidelines.

•Allows the child freedom to make choices.

•Respects the child’s ideas and thoughts.

•Uses the child’s mistakes to teach him/her better ways to behave.

•Shows unconditional love.

•Builds connection between parent and child.

•Follows through consistently.

•Makes decisions based on the child’s needs.

•Is firm and loving.

•Is clearly in charge.

Authoritative Parenting will produce the best outcomes in the lives of our children and builds a foundation of trust. Let’s take a closer look at trust. What is it?

Name a person you consider to be trustworthy. What qualities does this person have?

A trustworthy person:

•Makes you feel safe and secure

•Respects you.

•Shares honestly and openly.

•Recognizes mistakes and asks forgiveness.

•Treats you fairly.

•Expresses mutual caring.

•Is reliable.

As parents, we all want to establish a trusting relationship with our child. When does trust begin in the life of our child? How do we build trust?

Trust begins at birth through a process called attachment and bonding. As soon as our baby is born, he/she searches for us immediately. This is natural, because we are human, and human beings want to “connect.” As we hold our newborn infant, we are sending messages that say:

•We’ll protect and care for you.

•We’ll love you and nurture you.

•We’ll meet your needs.

•We’ll help you grow in healthy ways.

•We’ll be there for you and you can trust us.

From the very first encounter, our child senses that:

•He/She needs our love and protection.

•He/She is dependent upon us for everything.

These first interactions with our child, following the birth process, begin the foundation of a trusting relationship. From this moment on, it’s important for us to quickly meet the needs of our infants by answering his/her cries. When we change diapers, feed, talk, sing, play or rock to sleep, we are building trust. Experts tell us that the first year of life is the year of building trust.

Our child begins to understand that when he/she needs something, we will provide it. Our child learns from our attentive care that he/she is precious, valuable, and special. This bonding, or attachment, actually changes our baby’s brain patterns in positive ways for healthy development. With proper attachment, our baby’s brain is stimulated to grow and helps him/her learn, regulate emotions, and understand those around him/her. In bonding with our child, he/she gains confidence, builds self-esteem, and develops the ability to form healthy relationships.

Consider some ways that you can build trust with your child. Make a list your ideas.

Here are some additional ways to build trust:

•Set firm, loving guidelines for a feeling of safety.

•Protect your child from physical and emotional danger.

•Teach your child how to learn from mistakes.

•Have fun with your child.

•Be dependable.

•Keep your word.

•Listen with full attention.

•Love unconditionally.

•Meet your child’s deepest physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs quickly.

•Forgive.

•Stay calm-don’t lose your temper.

Agree or Disagree: Does parenting, based on a trusting relationship, prepare my child for the real world?

You are teaching the qualities necessary for life by connecting and building a trusting relationship. Experts tell us that:

•Our child matures when we meet his/her needs.

•Our child learns to trust and build loving relationships throughout life when we have relationship with him/her.

•Our child learns to put limits on himself/herself when we set loving limits in our homes.

•Our child learn show families work best as we model love and respect for one another.

•Our child knows we love and care for him/her when we provide structure.

•Our child is more capable of connecting with the Heavenly Father when we connect with him/her.

Our child is better able to cope with the challenges of life when we have taken the time to connect and build trust with him/her.God seeks to build a trusting relationship with us through His Son, Jesus. God is dependable and available. Our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally, sets limits, meets our needs, forgives, and provides protection. He is our model on parenting, once again.

Try Something New: Look at the above lists for ways to connect and build trust with your child.

Select one of the ways to build trust and describe how you will develop that one attribute this week.

Verses for Encouragement:

I will trust God, who is faithful, to teach me how to build a trusting relationship with my child.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;do not depend on your own understanding.Seek His will in all you do,and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6