Life Lessons Series: Trusting is Better than Doubting

A third way to expand your child’s world is to teach him or her to be trusting.  Assume the best in other people.  Believe.  I think the best way to demonstrate you can trust people is to show your child how you give others the benefit of the doubt, or how you show grace.  The place this lesson starts is in the home, between you and your loved ones.    

No, you can’t trust everyone.  Children shouldn’t automatically trust strangers.  However, if you can teach your kids that you can live a life void of paranoia, you will all benefit.  Need to read more about the advantages?  Click here or here.

Life lesson: ‘I know you want to do the right thing.’ – that’s what I tell my son.  Instead of making statements about how my son may consistently do an activity poorly, or not listen, or even hit others, I tell him affirming statements to help him shape the way he talks to himself.  Then I help show him how to correct it.

We have so many opportunities to show we trust people.  We trust people when:

  • we don’t micromanage
  • we don’t nag
  • we start moving towards the car after telling the kids it’s time to get into the car (versus herding them up and hand-holding each one, for example)
  • we give the benefit of the doubt
  • we use positive speech
  • we forgive – my son apologizes and gives hugs
  • we encourage and invite them to try again – in fact, my son already says “Try again” (and he’s under 2 years old)

Of course, there are many moments trust is broken (with varying degrees of severity or impact).  It’s foolish not to address these ‘you-broke-my-trust’ times.  We don’t ignore these teachable moments, but we don’t make mountains or set up altars for sacrifice and demand penance (ha, ha) out of small matters either.  We don’t keep score and we don’t look back.  If there’s a pattern or trend we notice, we look for behavior triggers, how we can break bad habits, and form new ones.  We implement new rewards for breakthroughs, according to the degree of worthiness of those breakthroughs.  Then it’s time to move forward.  Yay!

In your everyday life, are you trusting of others?  Do you ever view someone or some thing with a touch of doubt, or misbelief?  Are there moments you find it hard to forgive?

What are some good ways to demonstrate trust in your own actions?

  • Be fully honest about your feelings, all the time.  It helps to figure out the best way to express yourself (time, word choice, tone, delivery method, setting), but it doesn’t help to hide your feelings.
  • Follow through, on time… or at least let the interested party know why you’ll miss a target.  This includes keeping promises to your children.
  • Drum up courage to do the right thing, every time.  If you do the wrong thing, go back and correct it.
  • Apologize for your mistakes.  It’ll be easy to show your kids you’re not perfect (if you’re like me), but you should say it out loud to them.  That way, they don’t have to be perfect, too.  No one is perfect.  That’s what makes the world interesting.  It’s okay.
  • As long as it doesn’t violate your own principles, stand by your family, friends and nation.
  • Don’t take things that don’t belong to you, including ideas.  Don’t claim ownership of ideas, styles, belongings, (etc.) that you didn’t create.

If you can demonstrate your own trustworthiness, and also assume the best in others, while communicating when there is disparity, you will become a better communicator.  People will know what you want and need.  Your children will see you as a role model for integrity.

What are some practical ways you’ve shown your kids how to be trusting or trustworthy?

Love, Robyn Cooper

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