Not to sound cliché, but promises are important. As a parent, I make promises to my children and spouse on a daily basis. Some of these promises were made almost 10 years ago, when my husband and I were married. I promised then to support my husband in his efforts, to love him with fidelity, to look after his needs, and to take care of our family (after it got here). He promised me the same things. That’s the way marriage works.
My children also received promises from my husband and me. We’ve promised to support them, teach them, love them, and help them become well-rounded adults. Aside from these promises that we made when each child was born, there seems to be daily promises. Promises to feed and clothe each child. Promises to provide entertaining, educational activities which help each child learn. Promises each child will receive protection from the storms of life, as well as from the elements.
These are major promises that create stability and safety for everyone at home, and are really important to fulfill. But there are still other promises, which are just as important to be kept.
Some of these promises include promises for activities the family will do together, promises to tuck children in at night, and promises to play with the children. These seem to be the promises that change daily, but they are just as important as the other promises. Keeping these promises build credibility between the parent and the child.
Why do parents need to have credibility with their children? Because there comes a time when the child just has to trust that what a parent is saying is true. Many of my children seem to have a built in skepticism, so I spend a lot of time making and keeping promises. I never make a promise I don’t intend to remember and keep because of how important it is for me to build credibility with my children.
I have one son who really likes me to tuck him in at night. My other kids are okay if I don’t tuck them in, but this child really needs that reassurance he receives from me tucking him in. So, I have learned that I can’t sit down at night until I have tucked him in.
I have another child who loves juice. She will sometimes ask me if we can have juice for breakfast – the night before. Juice is that important to her. When I answer yes to her the night before, I write down that we are having juice for breakfast so that I remember.
I make promises to my children often, but because of how life can work out I often say “I’ll try”, or “maybe”. I’m not trying to deflect the situation, but I really don’t want to make a promise if I’m not certain I can keep it. Breaking my promises to my children depletes my credibility with them, and that’s something I really don’t want to do often.