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Toddler Tales: Parents Need to be Trustworthy!

Often times we find ourselves in a power struggle with our little ones and become flustered when they fail to cooperate with or obey what we've said. Then,there are times we've given into our annoyance with their behaviors that they end up getting their way in an attempt to ease our stress. Well, what if I told you that this inconsistent behavior from us (the parent) causes a lack of trust within our youngsters, thus leading to their unwillingness to listen.That's right, a child's struggle to listen to you is due to their lack of trust in your leadership!

Children are very dependent on their parents for survival. However, this goes beyond feeding and shelter once children are beginning to come into their own. They need us to model proper coping mechanisms, emotionally intelligent decision making, as well as their interactions with their peers. When parents fail to provide these crucial elements, their will be heightened instances of tantrums and misbehaviors, especially lack of listening and following directions. The book The Strong-Willed Child Birth Through Adolescence by Dr. James Dobson is clear that "it must be tested and found worthy of allegiance by the youngsters who are asked to yield and submit to its direction" when addressing the issue of adult leadership.

To add, parents should understand that their children operate just like every other being, through their own will. Our will is what decides what we conform to, the values we uphold, and is the basis of which we make all decisions. With it, we demonstrate our voluntary involvement in everyday life. Free will is the one gift that we receive without motivation for incentive, yet it clearly screams our "because I wanted to" attitudes. Therefore, what we choose to instill in our children sets the tone for them to voluntarily decide to make ethically responsible choices.


Ways we shape our child's trust

  1. Follow through on what you say Part of being the leader is demonstrating that our words have meaning. How can you expect a child to trust you if you break promises? Why should they take you serious if you do not deliver on what you say?

  2. Lead by example Children are sponges! What they see and hear are the stepping stones to their own behaviors. By approaching parenting with the "Do as I say, not as I do" mentality, you are setting yourself up for failure. This type of mentality illustrates that you are not capable of modeling appropriate behaviors, and that it is okay to be a hypocrite by saying one thing, yet doing an other. Not only is this confusing, children learn to be inconsistent in their approach.

  3. Be loving towards your child While children need discipline, they also require love. As an educator, I have learned that love does not solely stem from intimacy, it has an array of meanings and displays. Love can be verbal praise, encouragement, or knowing when something isn't going well. Because of the vulnerability of toddlers, we need to consistently show them affection as it helps them to feel safe.


Need more resources to help you build trust with your child? Check these out.

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