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Honesty In 2020- Parenting

My kids at KFS School are always honest with me if you can’t tell!

As we are moving into 2020 and looking at personal goals with our health and our own wellness here are some reasons to bring back honesty as a main goal into your home.

I hear all the time that my child doesn’t trust their teacher but I wonder if it is because they have learned that the adults in their life are people they can’t trust. Don’t take it the wrong way but words matter and it can be as simple as we are leaving in 5 minutes but really 20 minutes that a child won’t trust you. If 5 minutes isn’t 5 minutes, then what is it? If you say you are going to the grocery store, then get in the car to go to the grocery store and you stop somewhere else without explaining what is happening, then what is the message you are sending to the child? 
Children need to feel that the adults around them will ALWAYS keep them safe physically of course but emotionally. What does that mean exactly? It isn’t just that you protect them when another child throws sand at them at the playground, or when they are hurt because another child doesn’t want to play with them. In my opinion a child, that states that he doesn’t want to play with your child is a learning experience for them to learn that things don’t always go their way. That is a huge life lesson, since as adults things don’t always go your way so how do you handle it? 
Let’s go back to being honest to your child. Many people I talk to tell me that children can’t handle the truth and I disagree on many levels. Children see and hear everything and have a crazy imagination, so when you are not honest the imagination takes over and that is where you don’t want to be at times with some children since disruptive behaviors start to occur since their imagination will take over in the situation. If a child is feeling something going on and you tell them that isn’t true, they start to question themselves. When the truth comes out, they are hurt that no one trusted them to handle the situation. This applies as well to children that are super young. For example, you are fighting with your partner –  it is more important to tell the child that everyone fights and you are working through it than telling them that everything is fine when it is obviously not at that moment. Also, I would advise not going into detail, since they can’t handle the details but they can handle the big picture. Telling the child that nothing is going on is worse since they already know, and that is were you break the trust and you wonder why your child doesn’t trust adults.

I believe that being honest from the start is where the trust starts. To be able to acknowledge that something is going on helps the child to feel safe and of course you want to approach it in a child friendly way. Think of your adult relationships and how much you appreciate knowing what is happening. Not knowing something but feeling something else is what makes you doubt yourself and feel insecure within your own relantionship.  Honesty can be hard for people to take but at the end of the day you need to speak your truth. Trust is everything to me and I can only imagine to young children when the adult have the control of their daily life. Once the trust is broken, that is where you start to see things develop with different behaviors that might have the child shutting down or acting out.  
So, for this blog post, keep it simple with the truth and children can handle it and maybe it is the adults that can’t handle the truth at that moment. Something to chew on! 

Vanessa Kahlon, MA
  Check out Parenting with Vanessa Kahlon workshop the 3rd Thursday at KFS School in SF. Contact Vanessa at Vanessa.Kahlon@kfsschool.org