Youth Alternatives: Earning your child's trust

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CHEYENNE, Wyo - In our bi-weekly series with Cheyenne Youth Alternatives Dick Berry stopped by to give some advice on how to earn your child's trust.

Trust is crucial in the relationship between parents and children. Parents often talk about trust concerns with their children. However, trust is a two way street, so today I want to talk about kids being able to trust their parents.

-Kids need to trust that parents will:
Listen to the whole story (Kids do dumb stuff.) Be patient and make sure you have the whole story before you react. Ask questions about what happened and what they were thinking and feeling. What have they figured out?

-Not laugh at them or minimize their feelings
Kids may seem tough on the outside, but many of them are very sensitive. I had a kid tell me: “When my Dad laughed at me, I vowed to never tell him anything again. I wasn’t going to say anything that he could laugh at me about. Just because they are young and semi-inexperienced doesn’t mean that their feelings aren’t real. Breaking up is painful no matter how old you are.

-Deal reasonably with the kid's mistakes.
Give them space to learn. Talk with them about their choices - no yelling or screaming. Hold them accountable...the sureness of the consequence is more important than the severity. Deal with it and move on. Don't dwell on the past..."I don't live there any more."

-Love them and support them (even when they least deserve it).
Stay connected with them. Make sure your relationship with them is solid, as this is the best position to influence from. Every conversation can’t end with a push regarding homework.