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My son and I have been talking about trust. It's a hard concept to define, so I ask my son to raise his arms over his head and I tell him that I promise I will not tickle him. He looks a little warily at me, but he does it. I don't tickle him. That's trust, I tell him.

This is an important topic as he grows up, because I want him to know that he can tell me things and that I'll always help him. The concept has gotten a lot of airplay in our home, as I bring it up when he lies about brushing his teeth (why do kids do that?) or when we make plans together and carry them through.

What I didn't realize is that most children learn the concept of trust through their Moms. I'm not sure if that is because Moms represent safety and Dads represent freedom when children first learn to play or if it is another reason. But there are lots of ways to build trust within a family every day, without having to resort to I-promise-not-to-tickle-you tests or trust falls.

  1. Do what you say you are going to do. For good or for bad. When I tell my son we will play together in the afternoon, then I need to make sure it is going to happen. When I tell him that he will lose his screentime for the day if he continues to run on the stairs, then I need to follow through with that.
  2. Tell him that I love him no matter what. And show him that every day - whether it was a good one or one that didn't go his way - I still love him the same.
  3. Apologize when I break his trust. I'm not perfect, I struggle to make it home from work in time for us to play together before dinner and I ask for his forgiveness when I break his trust.

What tips do you have for building trust with your child? Tell me in the comments.

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