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Build strong relationships with your children now

Parents want their children to trust them. Children learn trust early in life. But, as parents, how can you encourage trust in your children?

Keep your promises. To begin with, make only promises which you can keep. Suppose your son wants you to take him to the zoo on Saturday, but you know that you may be called to work that day. Explain the predicament. Reassure him that you do want to take him to the zoo; then set a definite date when you will go, regardless of what comes up.

When the answer to a request is no, explain why. If your child asks for something you don't want him to have, be honest with yourself and with him.

One child asked to go to a video arcade. His parent did not approve of video arcades but was tempted to soften her negative answer by saying, "Not today, dear." If she had said that, her son would have reached the conclusion that on another day, she might allow him to go. Instead, they discussed her reasons for the decision and planned some alternative activities which he might enjoy.

Answer honestly. Try to answer all questions honestly. Choose words to suit the child's level of understanding.

For example, when a 4-year-old asks what the moon is made of, it's not necessary to launch into geological terms and explanations. A simple answer about rock and sand will be easy for her to understand. If she needs more information, she'll ask.

Don't evade. Sometimes we are tempted to give our children evasive answers because we are afraid they will not grasp our meaning or they may be upset by the answer. Death and sex, for example, are both topics that make parents uneasy. Both death and sex are realities, however, about which all children must learn eventually. Protecting a child from learning about the experience of death may hinder his ability to cope with the experience in the future.

Holding back information about his sexual nature will not prevent your child from misusing it. The less he knows, the more likely he is to have problems. When appropriate, share your knowledge and values with him.

Admit shortcomings. When you don't know the answer to a question, admit it; then offer to find out. The reality is that no one has all the right answers.

Lasting parent-child relationships start early in life. Trust is part of a lasting relationship.

Web posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2005


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