In Parenting

How to Teach Your Child to be More Trustworthy

Trust is built over years of understanding, and can be broken within a moment’s notice. The strength of a person’s trustworthiness helps them build relationships and gain acceptance. The first step in establishing trust is having the confidence that others will do the right thing. The second step in being trustworthy is being able to demonstrate through words and actions that others can trust us. With many people, being trustworthy is important, and being able to instill a sense of trustworthiness at a young age is important to parents.


How to be Trustworthy

Many parents should understand that trustworthiness requires four specific qualities.


Integrity is the quality having strong moral values. Virtuous people show significant consistency throughout their actions, words, and lifestyles. Those of integrity understand that doing the right thing is sometimes better that doing something everyone else is doing, which makes them more trustworthy.


Honesty is the quality of being free from deceit and lies. Being honest makes a person more transparent. The lies we tell ourselves and the white lies we think we can slip under the rug are all against the traits of honesty. The three components of honest communication are truthfulness, sincerity, and candor. Truthfulness is being honest 100% all the time. Sincerity is the overall genuineness of people that prevents deception from replacing honesty. Finally, candor is the obligation to reveal things being done that are not truthful. All three values combine to create the honest lifestyle we strive to attain. Trustworthy people are typically honest people.


Reliability is being consistently good in quality or performance; the ability to be trusted. The reliability of a trustworthy person allows everyone who nears them to have no concerns about whether they will carry out their responsibilities. Many parents choose to reinforce reliability by teaching children that by making a promise they must keep that promise in return. A trustworthy, reliable person  does not only keep a promise, but continues to do so consistently.


Loyalty is the quality of being faithful to someone or something. The qualities of a loyal person are represented in strong feelings of support and unhinged devotion. While many children are already so loyal to their parents and loved ones there is still a lesson to be taught in loyalty. Teenagers are very susceptible to leaning either way in loyalties, especially when peers or popularity are included. Parents need to reinforce the value of loyalty by helping teenagers understand that they need to be cautious when choosing who they can trust.

How to Reinforce a Trustworthy Attitude

With teenagers, parents continuously try to build the aforementioned qualities to let them feel confident of their own decisions and choose a circle of trustworthy friends. The reinforcement of trustworthiness can be achieved through these simple guidelines:

Why Trustworthiness is Important

When speaking to your child about why trustworthiness is important, it is necessary to help young children understand the difference between right and wrong. At this tender age, decisions and choices are all around them. Without understanding the motives or consequences, they will make choices without being fully aware. By teaching children to say what they mean and mean what they say, you are helping them develop trustworthy characters.

Start Small

At the beginning, it is important to start in small steps. Something as simple as asking for young child to straighten up their room while you are not there with them can build trustworthy behavior. While you are not there to observe your child, they have the choice to either goof off or to do as asked and to clean up their own room. Afterward, you can go back for a check up after you have given the child enough time to complete their task. If they have cleaned up their room, you can praise them and let them know you are proud. If they have not, do not offer to clean their room for them. Instead, remind them of the task and leave them again.


If your child is not catching on trustworthy habits, it is time to start giving consequences for their actions. An important thing for parents to remember is that you should only give punishments that match the failure. For example, when your child is asked to put away all of his toys and he or she deliberately moves them to a hiding place, a common consequence would be to take the toys away. These costs are just any other way of using the reinforcement tools that will help your child out in the future. By letting them know what is at stake, they will be more likely to do what is asked of them.

Set a Good Example

Once ground rules have been set, it is important to let your children know that they are not the only ones being kept up the moral standard. When your child watches you say one thing and do another, they begin to think that that is how they should act as well. Keeping yourself on the moral high ground is a great way to reinforce the ideals and actions you are trying to teach your child. When you make a mistake, you also need to acknowledge your mistakes in front of your child. This guarantees that they follow the example you set in the future.

Acknowledge Them

When your child is getting the hang of what it means to be trustworthy, it is important to give them more and more responsibility. The achievements and goals they make should always be acknowledged and praised. When your child is frustrated or makes a mistake after a large amount of progress all of the consequences should be more focused on teaching a lesson in morality instead of menial labor. Now that the child has more of an understanding on right and wrong they are more likely to take these mistakes personally and fix them on their own.

Give them Opportunities to Shine

Finally, the last step to ensuring trustworthiness is giving your child more and more opportunities to show off their trustworthy behavior. When you child gets more and more comfortable with the feeling of completing a successful task, you should continue to give them more space for them to prove themselves. Giving leeway in completing tasks and making excuses for them can seem like a convenient way to undo the work that has been done. Instead, be upfront with your child, and allow them to understand that by building trustworthiness, all of these decisions are up to them. Whether or not they choose to continue on this path is their own decision.


How to maintain trustworthy behavior through different ages

Throughout all ages, trustworthy habits can be taught in different ways. When reinforcing their honest, trustworthy behavior, parents often find that they are becoming more connected and understanding to their children. By teaching children though books, movies and examples, your child will be able to learn the importance of trustworthiness and how it can be used every day.

In preschool, many children can only understand the basics of trustworthiness. When teaching a child, you are only relaying the simple qualities needed to trust person, which are honesty, following the rules, keeping promises, and not taking what does not belong to them. At preschool age, many children lean best when being read to by their parents. Books that teach and emphasize on higher levels of morality are perfect for teaching. When reading to them, parents should ask a child to explain in their own way what it means to be trustworthy. Preschoolers are then able to relate to the characters in the stories they enjoy so much.

Starting from kindergarten and through 3rd grade, children are able to understand more about the consequences  of not being trustworthy. By reinforcing trust, a child can build friendships way easier. A helpful way to show examples of trust is in movies with virtuous protagonists. By watching the movies with your kids, they can see how being trustworthy affects relationships right before their eyes.

Between 4th grade to 6th grade, these children have already created and stuck with friends and peers. They understand that friendship is a relationship built on trust that should never be broken. By talking to your children and observing the trustworthy qualities of their close friends, they can see real-life examples of the behavior you want to instill in their characters. This gives them tangible ideas about trust, ones they can use to compare to things that will happen to them in the future.

When teaching trustworthy habits to a child of any age, it is important to understand that they all have different ideas about how trustworthiness should work and how they should act in return. With small children, it is easier to teach them the basics of right and wrong. However, with teenagers already set in their ways, it becomes a bit more of a struggle, especially with peer pressure. In any case, a child’s basic instinct is to be moral and trustworthy, unless something else teaches them otherwise.

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