It’s easy to make promises to our kids, isn’t it? Just a few minutes and I’ll throw the ball with you. I promise! I’ll never scream at you like that again. (Not a good promise to make! A good goal, but not a good promise because it’s so hard to keep!) I’ll get food for your cat after I drop you off at school.
I made that last promise to my daughter this week. Then, the day got away from me and it was time to pick her up. Hmm. Was it really that big of deal if I didn’t get the cat food until later? She’d understand, right? Well, maybe. But it still would’ve meant a broken promise, and the bottom line is that we need to be reliable for our children in the little things, so they’ll trust us in the big things.
What do your actions say about the trustworthiness of your words? Do you make promises to your children easily, and break them just as effortlessly? Keeping our promises to our children is vital for helping them feel like they can trust us, so look over these 5 ways to keep your promises to your kids.
1. Think before you promise.
If you say you’re going to get your daughter a dog, get ready to buy that dog food, and visualize those early mornings to let the dog out. In other words, really think about how what you’re promising is going to affect you. Even for something as simple as “I’ll take you to the park today” think your day though to make sure you can keep your promise.
2. Prioritize before you promise.
Don’t make a promise until you’ve figured out how you’ll keep it. We want to be able to say yes to our children most of the time, but it’s better to say yes to less, than to overpromise and not be able to follow through.
3. Be careful what you promise.
If in doubt, don’t promise. Do you really think that trip to Disney is possible? Sure you want to give your children the moon, but if it’s an unrealistic proposition, it’s better not to get their hopes up.
4. “Maybe” can sound like, “I promise.”
When a child hears, maybe, they have hope. If the answer is no, just say it.
5. If you promise, follow through.
If you say you’ll do it, do it. All the more reason to think before we promise. Even little broken promises can shake our children’s faith in us. So if you promise, follow through.