Tag Archives: children

Confession: My kids haven’t been taught to share

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To avoid the risk of being pretentious, I’ve categorized this as a confession rather than advice.   Along the lines of my first confession, I’ve always taught my children to understand and value ownership.  I never demand that they share their things with others, even their cute, younger, innocent siblings. My 2-year-old has his own shelf on the bookcase for his collectibles along with his brother and sister.  He knows exactly which ones are his and which ones aren’t.  It’s wonderful watching him look longingly at his brother’s new Captain America figure while resisting the urge to touch or demand it. He certainly has the right to ask to play with it but his brother has the right to say no.

One would think that this has caused each child to hoard and lord over their things but the byproduct of this practice has shown quite the opposite for our family.  The children aren’t inclined to be selfish but free in their sharing.   After being on the receiving end of someone else’s graciousness, they’ve learned the benefit of sharing so that it comes willingly.  I often urge my children to be generous, but I don’t demand or require it.  Sharing is definitely a virtue and I’ve found success in allowing them to find joy in it so that it becomes an act of kindness and not compulsory.

For those in relationships, however, these practices don’t work.  Just roll with it.

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TL;DR – My children have learned to share even though they have permission not to.


I want to hear you say it!

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There’s a reason why this image absolutely crushes me. It’s a short exchange between my daughter’s iPod and my iPhone. The twist? I wasn’t a part of this conversation. She texted me and when I didn’t respond in a timely manner she found my phone and responded to herself.

Anyone who knows me realizes that there are no deficits of “I love you’s” between me and my children, but there are moments when they need to hear it at precisely the right time. I went and whispered this in her ear while she was sleeping but what I wouldn’t give to have sent this at 8:01 PM. This was her way of saying that she wanted to hear from ME and I intend to let her know that I’ve heard her loud and clear.

All that being said, If my son ever catches wind of this he’ll start texting himself from my phone with things like, “Hey, more video games!” I’ll need to play this carefully.

TL;DR – Pay attention to the ones you love. Gauge their love tank and make sure to fill it regularly with things that are meaningful to them.


6 Ways to Winning Your Children’s Complete Trust

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“One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. ‘Oh, no,’ I said, ‘Disneyland burned down.’ He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.” – Jack Handey

My children trust me. While the quote above is funny, it’s a prime example of what not to do as a responsible parent. It matters to me that when I say “don’t move,” they freeze instantly… not because it’s absolutely hilarious when they’re running mid-stride, but because it might save their lives one day when some car comes careening through a parking lot. It matters to me that my kids don’t have to be anxious or wonder if I’ll be on time when I tell them I’ll pick them up from school. Most importantly, it matters that when I discipline them they understand it’s because I love them more than life itself. My children are responsive to me because they trust me.

If you’re new to the whole parenting game, here are 3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts – Six simple things I do to win my children’s complete trust. Some are easy, some are difficult, but all are important!

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Things NOT to do:

1. Never make promises that you don’t intend to keep. Keeping promises are a matter of life and death to a child’s soul. Don’t ever assume they’re mature enough to understand why you had to change your mind. They may learn to adjust to the disappointment, but their ability to take you at your word will erode quickly. I know life happens and we will all eventually fail, but don’t let it be because you couldn’t be bothered or because convenience demanded it.

2. Never let them see you ignore wrong-doing. If you have multiple children, never ever let them see you allow injustice in your home. Parents, if little Suzy ever hits you or breaks something that doesn’t belong to her out of frustration, every sibling in the house is watching to see what happens next. If you choose to let it go unaddressed, those watching may have difficulties learning to expect you to defend them if they ever feel threatened or wronged.

3. Never speak negatively of the other parent. I can’t stress this one enough. For all intents and purposes, parents, you are your children’s foundation – their rock. Even if you are single, unless your ex is abusive or unhealthy to be around, don’t let the young ones hear you speak ill of their other parent. It may reflect more poorly on you than you realize. From a young age, your children are engineered to see you as one governing force rather than two separate people. Any weakness you expose in your mate could easily become a mark against parenthood in general.

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Things TO Do:

1. Apologize when you are wrong. Whenever I realize that I’ve been wrong, I confess it to them. Every. Single. Time. Treat them like an adult in that regard. It doesn’t weaken their opinion of you. It reinforces the understanding that you are self-correcting and a safe person to be around. Most of the time they won’t appear to even care that you made a mistake, but they’ll take note that you’re honest with them and that they matter enough to address it.

2. Listen to them, even if what they’re saying is trivial: This quote says it all, “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” – Catherine M. Wallace

3. Most importantly, create boundaries and train your children to live within them. The fastest way to lose a child’s trust is to not establish your expectations and show them that you do it because you love them. Being indifferent to your kids’ behavior tends to communicate that you are indifferent to their safety. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that children long to be corrected and given boundaries. It inevitably gives them a sense of stability and freedom and they will learn to love instruction. Most of the time, children push boundaries not because they want more than they have, but because they need to know your reaction will be one that governs and protects rather than one that turns them over to lawlessness.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! Have you learned any techniques that could help others that are reading? Have you ever broken your children’s trust? How did it happen?

TL; DR – Be consistent, be just, be gentle, be humble, listen to them and always give your child safe boundaries to roam free in. Doing these things will establish a foundation of trust that won’t be easily shaken.


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