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Parenting for Trustworthiness

Parenting for Trustworthiness 10/12/18Actions speak louder than words when it comes to trustworthiness.  We build, gain, or earn trust one trustworthy deed at a time. It is usually a slow process.  On the other hand, trust can be lost very quickly.  What took years to build can be toppled very quickly.

Trustworthiness is a character trait.  Parents can use these approaches to foster the development of trustworthiness in their children from infancy through the teen years:

Model trustworthiness to and for your infant through consistent interaction. For example, respond quickly and appropriately to the infant’s cries, coos, and smiles.  These are trust-building behaviors.  Children who learn to trust others, such as their parents and/or caregivers, will build trustworthy characteristics in themselves. 

Being consistent continues to be important during the child’s toddler years. For example, being patient and persistent in teaching simple rules helps the child develop trustworthiness. 

Preschoolers are at an age where they can learn about telling the truth, respecting property of others and following through. When parents model these behaviors every day, and also pay attention to their child’s actions and behaviors, they help the child develop and grow into a trustworthy person. Parents can continue to use these approaches through the school years and middle school years.

Unique challenges come into play during the preteen and teenage years.  Relationships during these years are vulnerable to real and perceived betrayals of trust.

Parents can help preteens and teens understand that trust has two sides. One is to trust, to have faith and confidence in the intentions and actions of others – to believe that he will do the right thing. The other is to be trustworthy – to demonstrate by words and acts that people can trust him.

Even though trustworthiness can be a complicated concept, preteens and teens need to understand that it is essential to meaningful relationships, long-lasting friendships, and successful associations in school and in the workplace.

Talk to your preteens and teens about the four major qualities of trustworthiness: integrity, honesty, promise-keeping, and loyalty.  Discuss situations that can challenge each of these qualities in your life and in your preteen’s or teen’s life.  Then brainstorm ways to assure that integrity, honesty, promise-keeping, loyalty prevail so that trustworthiness is maintained. 

Source:  University of Missouri Extension, Show Me Character: Trustworthiness Character Connection (http://4h.missouri.edu/showmecharacter/trustcc#gsc.tab=0)

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/trust-true-right-unknown-confident-482655/ (downloaded 10/16/18)


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