Does anything speak love to a child more than a parent’s trustworthiness? Does anything mean more to a child than to know her parents will do what they say they would do? Our trustworthiness builds a bond with our kids that we will need in the hard times of parenting.
One small action that leads to big changes in our parenting is doing what we say we will do.
Did you say you would ground her if she missed curfew? Then ground her—long enough for her to feel it.
Did you say you would be at his game? Be there—attentive and supportive, on time and staying till the end.
Did you say “I’ll always love you”?
Then show her by doing the things that speak love to her even in the midst of her unloveliness. Firmly keeping in place your boundaries is one way. But also a note of encouragement on her pillow; take her for breakfast before school; make her favorite meal; give a small, but meaningful gift. Anything that reassures her of your love for her when she may be doubting it the most.
When we do what we say we are the stable refuge in their lives. They know they can trust us. Katie shared with me that the kids who didn’t want their parents in their lives were the ones whose parents were making a mess of their own lives and not there for their kids. Our kids want to know we’re the secure and safe place in their lives. By doing what we say we will do, we show them we are their safe place.
By doing what we say we will do our kids see our integrity. We are authentic. We gain influence in their lives. By not doing what we say we will do we lose credibility. We show them we can’t be trusted. We show them they aren’t a priority for us.
Read more about how small actions make big changes in your child in Love No Matter What: When Our Kids Make Decisions We Don’t Agree With.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.