Trust is an important word to know and use properly. Do not use it in a negative way. For example: “I just can’t trust you!”  It’s just too value laden…too judgmental…too harmful.  Usually we use the word trust for effect or impact when are upset.

Instead, when something happens, it is far more effective to comment on the actions themselves.

  • If you do not call or text me when you said you would, I worry.
  • I promised not to continually remind you about your homework because you said you would get it done.
  • It’s very helpful to the family when you babysit. When we have an agreement about what you must do while babysitting, please do as we agreed.

When used in a positive way, the word trust has huge positive influence on behavior and self-esteem.  It is empowering, up lifting and expanding.

  • I appreciate that I can trust you to let me know where you are and what you are doing so I don’t need to worry.
  • Your independence is remarkable, and I love being able to trust you to get things like your homework done on time.
  • Thank you for babysitting. I hope you know that I absolutely trust you with your younger siblings, and that is such a gift.

Use the word trust to create the future you want rather than reinforce a past that you are trying to improve.

Here’s an excerpt from the book—a story from a friend of mine that illustrates the power in trusting your kids.

Start from a place of trust

My daughters were thirteen and fifteen when I took the Conversational Skills workshop with Paul Axtell at Oregon State University. One thing that made a huge impression on me was his emphasis on trust. He said, “You have to come from a place of trust. Trust your kids. Don’t make them earn it; start there.” When I heard that, it was like something exploded in my head. Of course! Doesn’t that make sense? What do you gain by coming from anyplace else?

We didn’t have rules in our house. We did have expectations, and we made it clear our expectations were based on trust, not distrust. We said explicitly that we trusted our daughters to do the right thing—keep up with their schoolwork, be home at a reasonable hour or call, keep their rooms at least sanitary—and they usually did. Not always, of course. They made mistakes. They did stupid things. But when that happened, we talked about the specific incident, never telling them they had to start over to earn our trust. We “came from a place of trust,” and I believe it made a huge difference.

—Alice Sperling