Four Practices that Build Trust with Your Children and Teens by Gregory Bland

Navigating relationships can seem complex, yet at their core, it’s most often the simple principles that bring the greatest results. Cultivating a healthy family dynamic takes commitment, effort, intentionality, and consistency. That means practicing healthy relational principles even when it would be easier ‘not to bother,’ or ‘I’m too tired, I just need a break.’

Here are four fundamental principles that when acknowledged sincerely and communicated honestly will help foster a deeper relational connection you’re your child or teen.

  • Acknowledging Mistakes: Admitting “I was wrong” acknowledges our imperfections. This simple acknowledgment not only demonstrates self-awareness but is an act of humility which earns respect from our children. The truth is they already know we make mistakes, and admitting it helps them realize we know too.
  • Apologizing: When we err, as we inevitably do, offering a genuine apology and seeking forgiveness fosters relational closeness. There is a beautiful vulnerability we show when we humble ourselves as parents and seek forgiveness from our children when it is warranted. Ignoring the issue or offering excuses for our ‘misbehaviour’ only dilutes the excuse and strengthens the offense. A sincere “I’m sorry” coupled with accountability strengthens the parent-child connection in profound ways.
  • Extending Trust: Expressing trust in our children communicates belief in their abilities and character. While it may seem daunting at first, this simple act empowers them and fosters a sense of responsibility, laying the groundwork for deeper connection.
  • Valuing Their Thoughts and Perspective: Affirming the individuality of our children/teens and respecting their thoughts and opinions deepens trust. Involving them in decision-making processes not only validates their worth but also fosters a sense of belonging and mutual respect within the family.

Consider when you have made decisions for your child/teen, or for your family, without asking for their thoughts.

  1. What impact did that have upon them?
  2. What did you observe?

Now consider what you would communicate to them if you brought them into the process and asked for their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and prayer.

I would dare go out on the proverbial limb to say that they might just feel that you, “value them and their opinion.” If they do indeed feel that, it will go a long way in strengthening your relational bonds.

Reflecting on our interactions, we often find that simple affirmations and acknowledgments can profoundly impact our relational dynamics. What phrases or actions have you found to positively influence your family’s relational environment?

Until next time look for opportunities to practice these four principles and see what impact it has upon your child/teen.

Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland


** Photo credit pexels-daria-obymaha-1683975

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