Have you ever scolded your child for something he did? Of course, we’ve all done it. Have you ever scolded your child when he did something he didn’t realize was wrong and told you excitedly? A lot of us have.
Maybe after scolding him you wondered whether he’ll tell you the next time something goes wrong.
It’s a common enough occurrence: scolding your children, usually because they’ve done something they knew they shouldn’t have, sometimes because they did something they didn’t know they shouldn’t have and rarely because they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But what every parent should aim to do is create an environment where their child feels safe to disclose everything that happens in their life.
Were they scolded by their teacher? If they tell you they trust you to correct them gently and not scold them, they expect you to be on their side. What they’d really like is an explanation about the course of events that should take place the next time this happens.
Do they have a crush on someone in class? If they tell you this, they definitely trust you to neither scold them nor embarrass them and you must be doing a terrific job at creating this environment.
Are people they don’t know trying to befriend them online? Notice how creating this environment just let you get ahead of something that could have potentially been dangerous for your child.
Everyone understands the need to establish trust with their children but not everyone is able to maintain it, mainly because one wrong move is all it takes to destroy this trust and it’ll take a long time to rebuild it.
Here’s an example:
They tell you one day that they didn’t really go where they said they were going, and you go into disciplinarian mode. Sure, the reaction is purely out of concern for the well-being of your child. However, your child only remembers that the next time he does this, he better not let you know.
Instead if you gently tell your child that if they inform you of where they’d really like to go you’d gladly get them there yourself (provided it’s a safe place for children), they’ll most likely always ask you to be their chauffeur. This gives you the opportunity to scan the area for anything out of the ordinary.
The golden rule of disciplining
You only need to follow one rule to maintain this trust based relationship which is to always give it a minute (before you begin to discipline them). Think of a way to handle the situation with tact ensuring that your child leaves the room believing he’s better off having told you instead of him leaving disappointed or fearful.
No matter what your child tells you, foster the environment of trust. Do this and your child will always tell you everything that happens in their life, good or bad. They’ll probably continue to do this even after they’ve grown up since they see no down side to sharing the details of their life with you and fear no repercussions.
This will also create a bond between the two of you that many parents and kids long for.