I Trust You

I. Trust. You. These are words I try to use more and more as my children are growing older and able to make decisions for themselves.  I spent so many years of their childhood making every decision for them, but now as we enter into upper elementary years it is time to let them make more decisions and affirm those decisions.

DSC_0219Some of the situations are physical challenges in which the kids are asking me if they can climb a certain tree, go down a certain sledding hill, take on a jump or obstacle at the park.  I, of course, look at the situation through my mom-filter and decide if I feel the situation is a smart move, but what the children hear is, “What do you think? Do you feel that you can do it safely?  I trust you to make this decision.”  I want kids that learn their own abilities (and limitations) so that they can also make smart decisions when I am not there.

Some of the situations are social challenges in which the kids are asking me to put together an outfit for them for school or which  friend to invite over for a playdate. Here, we talk through together what they want to look like or what questions they need to ask themselves about the playdate, but I ask them to make the final decision. “I trust you. Whatever you decide will work out.” (Even if some school outfits have been a little crazy…)

Some of the situations are simple decisions the kids need to make about which activity they want to do next or how they want to organize their time. “Should I play legos or go biking?” “Should I do my homework first or second?” Here, I have the opportunity to help the kids think through what they are feeling at the moment and what the pros and cons are of different choices.  And I always end with, “I trust you. You can make a good decision about what to do next.”

…And if they make a poor decision, they need to learn that is okay too. We can try again next time.

I Trust You is a simple way to let my children know that I believe in them. I believe they can make good decisions. I believe that they can understand the consequences of their decisions. I believe that they can do it themselves.  They can, they have and they will.  And I will be right there cheering them on.

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