A few basic signs [of reliability]:
- Keeping one’s word about the small things – time home, calling as had been agreed, being (pretty) honest about who’s around in others’ houses.
- Your internal feeling that what your child says makes sense – pay attention when it doesn’t add up – you’re probably onto something. The truth usually flits across your mind and you ignore it.
- Both you and your partner get the same – or at least a similar enough story. Kids can only play us against each other if we don’t bother to talk to each other.
- Giving you enough time to truly think about a decision – feeling less like a hostage to time pressure makes you feel more trusting.
- Owning their behavior – without torturous explanations or excuses.
- Your child is not afraid to tell you the truth – even if it’s not something you don’t want to hear. This is a hall-mark of mutual trust – in your child and your being a reasonable, firm parent.
- Your child has a couple of good friends, regular playdates and receive calls – a sign of trustworthiness with peers.
- Other parents are truthful around you – and do not hold back important information you then hear about later. This openness usually indicates your child is acting within acceptable bounds when you’re not around.
- Your own growing sense of trust – be clear-eyed, but be open to seeing and enjoying your child’s maturation.
Ron Taffel – Childhood Unbound p.175