Capriciousness can come easily to anyone. But, it takes time to imbibe the qualities that make an individual stand out as someone who is reliable and worthy of trust. Some of the qualities that are present in most trustworthy individuals are:
Trust is one of the values that lies at the heart of every human relationship. We begin learning to trust right from a very young age. Every time parents respond to their child, who depends on them for everything with empathy and love, the child learns to trust. And, with time, the child also learns to model trustworthy behaviour.
But, apart from modelling trustworthy behaviour as a parent, there are other ways of teaching your child to be trustworthy as well. Let us look at some of them:
1. Explain trust: Before you begin teaching you child to be trustworthy, explain to him what ‘trust’ means. How you explain ‘trust’ to your child would depend on his age.
- Preschoolers: They aren’t mature enough to understand the concept of trust. So, you can use everyday occurrences, or tell them stories and then talk about the characters to explain what trust means. You can also assign odd jobs to your preschooler, like watering the plant, and tell him that you ‘trust’ him to handle the responsibility well.
- Primary schoolers: Children of this age group have a large, and ever-expanding, social circle. They engage in a lot of activities with their peers. They seek support from their peers and offer theirs in turn. They are also able to handle a lot of responsibilities. You can use your child’s relationship with his peers or the way he handles his responsibilities to explain trust, and its importance to him.
2. Indulge in trust-building activities: Doing activities with peers are not only fun and entertaining, but also provide the scope for teaching a lot of things, including trust. Here are a few such activities.
- Preschoolers: Blind walk — this activity requires one child to be blindfolded while the other leads her through an obstacle course. Trust fall — this activity requires a child to stand with her back to her partner. She then stiffens her body and falls back. As she falls, her partner catches her and prevents her from falling.
- Primary schoolers: Draw it — make your child and her friend sit with their backs to each other. Give one of them a picture. Ask your child to draw the picture while her friend describes it to her. Lead the blind – one child is blindfolded and is tied with two long ropes the ends of which are in the hands of her peers. By tugging at the rope, the peers try to steer the blindfolded friend through an obstacle course.
3. Teach moral values: A knowledge of moral values helps a child learn many things such as distinguishing the right from the wrong, becoming responsible and so on. These help encourage and promote trustworthiness in a child.
4. Have conversations: Have conversations that increase your child’s sense of self-esteem and make him understand what it takes to be trustworthy. During your conversation, you can say a few things that will help your child understand how important trust is — for example, “When people trust you, they know that you won’t let them down” or “A trustworthy person will do everything possible to keep his word.”
5. Teach him to be on guard: While you give lessons to your child on how to become trustworthy, also tell him to be aware of things that can lead him to break someone’s trust – for example, giving in to distractions and not fulfilling his responsibilities, promising more than what he can deliver, or leaving things midway.
While you are teaching your child to be trustworthy, you will also encounter situations where your child is unable to keep her word. What would you do during such times? Here are a few tips:
- Make her think: Have a calm and meaningful conversation with your child, prodding her to think about her mistake. Self-realisation can help her reform her attitude.
- Do not focus on punishment: While you tell your child about the consequences she will have to face for failing to keep her word, focus on the mistake. For example, you can ask her, “What do you think happens when you break someone’s trust?”
- Resolve the issue: To put an end to the issue, ask your child to say what she would do to ensure that she doesn’t fail those who trust her. Once your child realises her mistake and is eager to make amends, you can be sure that she has learned her lesson.
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