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Master coaches share tips: Raising children you can trust

Posted March 8
Updated March 9

Master Coaches Kim Giles and Nicole Cunningham share tips for raising children to do the right things for the right reasons. (Deseret Photo)

Question:

I need help with parenting and getting my child to follow my lead in the values my wife and I have. My daughter doesn’t seem to care about honesty, responsibility and the other virtues we care about. How can I change that? How can I raise my kids to be more trustworthy?

Answer:

We all strive to be good people, to be generous, kind and responsible. We are people with values, who work hard and do the right things. We like to believe, because we have good morals, we are raising children to live the same way. But are you sure you are raising children who will thrive in adulthood, and be contributing members of society, who you and others can trust?

There is a quiz on my website to find out if you are creating trust in your relationship with your child and teaching them to be trustworthy.

Here are a few ways you can improve your parenting to facilitate lessons that ensure your children will grow into responsible, functional and trustworthy citizens:

1. See your children's magic

See your children for all of their genius, talents and strengths. Remember your children are on loan to you and they are meant to learn from you, but they are also here to help you grow in wisdom and love. They are your teachers as much as you are theirs. This attitude will help you see your child as the same as you in value and importance. Your parenting will be love motivated when you truly see their unlimited potential and accurately understand your role. Unfortunately, most of us parent from fear. Our fear-driven behavior comes out when we try to protect our children from failure, rescue them from their mistakes, or when we fail to give them learning opportunities and experience the consequences. Many children today are not given the opportunity to develop trust in themselves and their journey because they are being bailed out at every turn by fearful parents.

Instead, teach your children to trust themselves and their journey. You do this by choosing to trust the universe to handle their education and constantly tell them how amazing they are. Take every opportunity to tell them they have value, talents, wisdom and capacity and that you believe in them. Remember your children will always receive the perfect lessons they need from the universe, so there is nothing to fear. When you choose to trust this truth, you become more peaceful and encouraging in your parenting.

2. Play the long game

Many parents struggle with the big picture. Due to their fear they play the short game of putting out fires and rescuing, instead of facilitating long-term growth. Good parenting is a long game and requires vision. It’s the difference between taking the time to teach a child to wash dishes versus doing it yourself because it’s faster. Paying for a car instead of helping them earn the money. When we adopt a long-game perspective, we see the details in our children’s lives have purpose and meaning. This gives us the opportunity to support and encourage learning.

Don’t become too attached to your child’s performance or position. It’s easy to project your own goals on them when you don’t think they have any. Your need for control, perfectionism and progress can quickly override your desire for their happiness. Remember your children are always on track in their unique and personal classroom. They are signing themselves up for the lessons they need. You must drop your agenda and show up as their cheer squad. Don’t get hung up on short-term losses. Give children your unconditional love and support, instead of judgment or fearful control. Remember your job isn’t controlling them into adulthood, it’s helping them grow their way there. This may require letting them experience painful mistakes, so they win in the long term. It’s better for them to fail while under your roof than later in life when they aren’t.

3. Don’t stress over mistakes

What is your attitude toward mistakes? Do you allow yourself to make mistakes and your children to do the same? Do you find yourself feeling disappointed or taking your child’s mistakes personally? Guess what, adolescence is practice time. When we role model emotional resilience through healthy language and behavior when we make mistakes, we show our children mistakes are not failures.

Life is about learning and we can only learn by trying and sometimes that means failing. Adolescence is the time to make mistakes, reset, recover and try again. Don’t be so quick to judge a mistake as a bad thing. Also, don’t be too quick to rescue your child and save them from the lessons their mistakes create. It can serve a child to experience disappointment, rejection and some humility.

Perfectionism may keep you aligned to the idea (and delusion) that you can control their life. This can negatively affect your language and behavior. Your real job is to hold them accountable, show them love and help them navigate through the mistake with confidence and emotional resilience. If you have trouble with perfectionism or you beat yourself up for any mistake, you must get help with this too, because your children will follow your example.

4. Set them up to succeed

Do you set your children up to succeed with realistic expectations? Sometimes our fear can get the better of us and we find our expectations high and unrealistic. Do you and your spouse discuss your expectations or even allow input from your children as to the goals and expectations? Do you realize the bar should be set differently for each child? Some children are driven, self-motivated and set their own goals, while others need a lot of encouragement and guidance.

We help parents understand the unique psychological inclinations of each child, so they can be smarter parents. Analyze your children and ask yourself which of your children need more pressure and responsibly, and which need less. Trust naturally grows out of responsibility, and your job as a parent is to let go and hand responsibility over to the child, step by step, as they are ready. Setting goals together where they can succeed not only boosts confidence but also provides fertile ground for trust.

Every parent wants their children to be trustworthy, to know what makes them happy and for them to feel confident and independent in making good choices for themselves. This can only happen when they are set up to succeed with wisdom and love.

If you are having trouble parenting with wisdom and love, it means you might have some fear of failure or loss yourself. You may need to get some help to work on your fear issues before you try to guide your child. You can’t teach what you don’t have. Then give your children opportunities, responsibilities, practice ground and the freedom to experience consequences and you will produce trustworthy children who you and others can rely on.

You can do this.

Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach, speaker and people skills expert.

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