“You can’t count on other people to give you what you don’t have, so you have to start with self-trust.”
- Brene Brown
When you become a parent, you develop this instinct to protect your children and ensure they grow up to be successful, healthy and well-rounded individuals in society. Children who are raised with their attachment needs met may have a stronger sense of trust with those relationships. To trust, children and youth need consistency, predictability and reliability. Parents and caregivers often struggle with understanding how much of these traits to instill in their child.
There are two types of parenting styles that can impact the level of trust that is built within the relationship.
Overprotective and Over-involved parents impact the development of self and can have a negative impact on self-esteem, self-regulation, problem-solving skills, self-efficacy and it can increase feelings of anxiety. The first type of is described as “Helicopter Parenting.” This type of parenting is usually based around authoritarian parenting which is more of the “my way or the highway” approach. Some examples of authoritarian parenting would be taking over tasks and making every decision for them even when they are capable of decision making. The second type of parenting is an over-involved parent. This would look like someone who does things for their kids that they are completely capable of doing. For example, kids around the age of 5 are capable of putting away their backpacks or putting their toys away.
Parents who do not trust their kids or trust themselves tend to have difficulties allowing their kids to make mistakes.
Parents who do not have a secure base of trust can also give very little room for improvement, encouragement, unconditional positive regard towards them and often undermine their abilities. It’s hard as a parent to provide support and listen openly without judgement because we want them to not go through many of the same experiences and feelings as we did when we were their age. We write about Trust and Trusting yourself, so what does this mean for your life as a parent?
Brene Brown has created the Anatomy of Trust which communicates the need for Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-Judgement and Curiosity. As we expand an example below, we encourage you to think about these situations in your own life.
Boundaries - “I must set and hold boundaries and respect yours. I expect you to respect mine.”
Trust that your kids know what they need, they will figure it out. They will push those boundaries as far as they can because it is a natural instinct of their development. It is your role to set a clear boundary and hold it, expect them to know you will hold this boundary firmly, then they will respect that.
Reliability - “I will show up for you whenever you need me.” If you promise to give them a bus pass every month, deliver on your promise so they can build that trust in you. Knowing you are there for them no matter what will allow your kids to come to you when they are in need. They can trust and count on you to support and show up for them.
Accountability - “I will own my behaviour, the good and the bad. If I make mistakes, I will own them, apologize and admit it and make amends.” Take responsibility and accountability for your actions. Remember the role Modelling has within your relationship. Allow them to make mistakes! Being able to apologize for your actions that might have hurt them shows accountability. They will more likely understand what this means when they see it happening.
Vault - “What I share with you, you will hold in confidence. What you tell me, I will hold in confidence.” For example, if your teen tells you about a first kiss, but says “You can’t tell anyone!” then you keep the secret and honour this level of trust. Confidentiality is key!
Integrity - “We must practice what we preach and choose courage over comfort and right over easy.” For example, you teach your kids the value of honesty, you will need to uphold that value. If trust is built in the small moments, like Brene Brown says, then this is a perfect example. If your kid asks you to drive them to the mall and you don’t want to, you may come up with an excuse. Half an hour later they see you drinking wine and watching tv, they will view it as not acting with integrity to your words, which means you are not practicing what you preach!
Non Judgement - “Both people in the relationship should not be judged for their actions, behaviours or even asking or giving help when needed.” Trust yourself that you’ve taught them well and you’ve done a good job building their resiliency. Trust that when they run into issues, they will know how to handle them and you will not be judgemental about what they have done.
Generosity - “The perception of words. Assuming the most generous intentions in my words and actions. I invite you to check in with me if these words and actions do not align.” I will make a generous assumption about my kids that they are doing their best in school and I won’t go into a conversation about not being enough. I will not think they should have tried harder, I will make a generous assumption that they tried their best, advocated for themselves and recognize the barriers that might be involved. When I say “You could better, You could do more” I am not making a generous assumption that you are trying your best. Instead, I will check my beliefs at the door, leave my assumptions, I will become curious and ask you, share with you my concerns and thoughts.
Trust is important for every relationship but it is especially critical for a parent-child relationship. Remember asking for help is building trust, so keep that in mind when you are asking others for help and when your kids are asking you for help. See little things in life as opportunities for building trust by using the BRAVING acronym.
This can be applied in every relationship you have, even the one with yourself.
Happy Parenting- JC