Do You Keep Promises to Your Kids?
by Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
I was bringing my kids home from a long day of play one Fall night not long ago. It was a difficult ride home, and they were tired, hungry, and whiny. I wanted to get them home as fast as I could.
As we neared our house, my son exclaimed, “You said you’d take us for ice cream!” I cringed when I heard this, because I remembered that I’d promised that I’d take them for ice cream. I began to give excuses concerning why we needed to go home.
They would have none of it.
I turned the car around, and we went to get ice cream.
We got home past their bed time, and they were tired. But there was something that felt good about this ice cream trip. I kept my word to my kids. And my word is something that I always want them to be able to count on.
Your kids will have an incredible memory for the promises you make to them. In fact, you can assume that any promise you’ve ever made to your kids has been remembered.
It’s important to know why this is so. When kids are younger, they have very powerful emotions that dominate their lives. Can you remember how excited you were as a young child when you went to a ball game for the first time or went on a trip?
Kids live in their emotions, and when they hear something promised to them, they get very excited. They can picture the promise happening and keep it with them in a way that’s much more powerful than we’re able to. For this reason, they won’t forget what you promise them. Ever! So don’t even think about making a promise that you might not be able to keep.
It doesn’t take too much for kids to begin to lose trust in you. A few broken promises can have a big impact on a child. Very simply, one of your jobs as a father (parent) is to keep your promises. Treat them as sacred, and do what’s necessary to keep them.
Some day your kids may grow up and have their own kids.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see that they’ve learned the importance of keeping their promises with them?
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC is the founder of Dynamic Vision: Helping Fathers Succeed. He has an extensive archive of articles that you can access on line.
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