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5 year old and trust...


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Hey all...

 

Not sure if I am overreacting.. This is my first time parenting a 5 year old, so I need some perspective.

 

Without going into details, DH and I had a reason to casually ask our 5 year old "Don't you trust Daddy?"...his answer "Sometimes"...So I wondered if it was because of the issue at hand, and asked "Do you trust Mommy?"

 

"Sometimes"

 

I am crushed by this. Now I find myself wondering if we've done something to violate his trust in us, or if we've not done something to earn it...

 

But then I wonder, does he understand the question? So I asked him "what does trust mean", "a promise" was his reply.

 

Close, but not exact.....

 

The thing is, if either of us utters the word "promise" we keep it. But sometime we will say "we'll see what happens" and then later he says "you promised!"

 

But I can't get it out of my head. A five year old should have absolute trust in his parents..it breaks my heart that he may not....

 

He is very well spoken and articulate. So much so that it's easy to forget he's only 5...Sometimes I think he knows how to express concepts he doesn't fully grasp... So am I taking this too literally?

 

Thoughts?

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I think that he told you exactly how he feels. Sometimes you say "maybe" he interpretst that as a yes, and then if it doesnt happen, it feels like you broke a promise. He may not fully understand "trust" but he was telling you that he feels as though you sometimes break what HE PERCEIVES to be a promise. You may not think that it's a promise, but to him it was.

 

Example: you: if we have time we'll stop at the park

him: you promise?

you: we'll see

**he takes this as we are stopping at the park**

you: we dont have time right now to stop, but we can come back tomorrow

him: but you promised

 

to him you broke a promise as he perceives it.

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My son is also 5. I don't think they have any idea what trust means at this age. I think he just said sometimes because he didn't understand the question. Of course your child trusts you. At age 5 children see their parents as people that know everything about every subject. Parents are their world at this age.

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Why would you even ask a 5 year old that? It shouldn't even be in his realm of thoughts, of whether to trust a parent or not.

 

Why not?

 

How else are they going to learn that some people can be trusted and others can't, if they are never prompted to question it for themselves.

 

I agree that one would hope that a 5 year old would automatically trust his/her parents, but for example, a child who was abused or neglected wouldn't and shouldn't trust his/her parents, would s/he?

 

This is why it distresses me. I know we don't abuse or neglect him..so I wonder if we've let him down in some other way...

 

Just because children may not have the vocabulary to express fully how they perceive their relationships with others does not render them any less complicated than adult relationships.

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You should, fix this by letting him sit on you, and hold him clost and tell him, mommy n daddy loves you, they will always be there for you, and the y will never decieve you, and will always try to do the very best for you,,, but its not always as easy but we will try.....

 

i have my god son, he is two and all he would say is i love my nene, she loves me too . when u ask him who he loves more in this world he would say is his nene , thats because his nene always remind him , that she loves him dearly, what you feed children thats what they live by........

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You should, fix this by letting him sit on you, and hold him clost and tell him, mommy n daddy loves you, they will always be there for you, and the y will never decieve you, and will always try to do the very best for you,,, but its not always as easy but we will try.....

 

Thanks, we have conversations like that all the time. Whenever I have to draw out of him something that's upset him, I always ask if he feels better now that we talked etc...then I remind him that he can talk to us about anything, that he and his brother are the most important people in the world to us, and it's our job to keep them safe, healthy and happy.

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Why would you even ask a 5 year old that? It shouldn't even be in his realm of thoughts, of whether to trust a parent or not.

 

I agree. He cannot possibly fully grasp what this means. My 5 year old nephew asked to live with me. Because when he's with Aunt SF, it's only fun times. We play, we go places, we go shopping and buy toys, we play dinosaurs, and then I bring him back to his mother and she deals with the day to day. I explained this to him and that if he lived with me, he was still going to have to brush his teeth, eat his vegetables, take baths, and everything else his mother makes him do. Kids don't have any concept of what the real world is like. Their brains aren't developed yet.

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I do not think he grasps the "enormity" of WHAT you are asking. I think he does trust you, but he what he does not get is the implications of his answer or the enormity of the question. That is the thing with a child who is more advance in language. They may talk like a little "adult" but they are not one. They have a long way to go in understanding implications of things that are not concret. Trust is a very abstract topic. He is going to demonstrate his trust in actions not necessarily words. I would not take it enormously to heart FE. I think when he says "sometimes" he is referring to things you did not do when you said "we'll see". He has to learn his every wish is not at his command and that we'll see is NOT a promise. Maybe tell him " I am NOT promising, but IF we have time."You are being too abstract at this age I think.

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Thank you Victoria. This is pretty much what I concluded with my logic, but my "mother's heart" is having none of it...I know it's very abstract, and "a promise" is not the same as trust...He's on the right path, but no I don't think he fully grasps it either. Now I just need to believe it in my heart!

 

We regularly have conversations about the fact that sometimes, loving him, and doing what's best for him means saying "no" to what he wants...He has trouble with that, and my mind knows such egocentricity is normal for a 5 year old. It's just SO important to me that my kids feel safe and that they can tell us anything, that when he said "sometimes", I felt like I'd been punched in the gut...

 

He's starting to keep secrets now..insomuch as he won't tell us if he's scared of something, or if a friend said something mean to him...But I know he's sad about something, so I snuggle with him and try to draw it out. I just wish he'd just come to me in the first place. But I guess he's starting to gain some independance and want to deal with these things on his own, which is a good thing!

 

Ah, if only they came with manuals...or at least a troubleshooting index...

 

Thanks for your kind reply.

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I know. Sometimes our kids say somethings that hurt. I remember I cried my eyes out when one day my son told me he hated me. Like you I had to say no to something. Remember as kids grow they are developing independance and pride and an ego etc. His pride and ego will keep him from telling you something not lack of trust. I DO believe he trusts you, he is testing his limits too. I do not think this is a lack of trust as much as an indepedance issue. He wants to be a BIG boy not a fraidy cat.......that could be a peer thing too in co operation with his own pride.

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I'm sorry, but I think a 5 year old is too young to be having conversations like 'I do love you but sometimes I have to say no.' They need to hear NO. Or OK. Not justification. It confuses them and makes them worry because in a 5 year old's world, the parent HAS to have all the answers and he needs to just be able to KNOW that his mom and dad will make the right decisions.

 

The worry manifests itself in silence, not telling the truth, not sharing feelings...because you are not being the solid rock a 5 year old needs - you have feelings and concerns and want to explain things to him...when all he wants is for you to tell him what to do - because mommy knows what's right.

 

Do some reading on age development to get a better handle on what to do with a child of each age.

 

Or watch SuperNanny, lol. She deals with families all the time whose kids are confused because the parents aren't simply being the strong, silent, all-knowing safety net kids need at that age.

 

JMO, and YMMV

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I appreciate your POV, but I disagree. I know my son, and "because I said so" isn't enough. While I agree he cannot always grasp the full concepts, when he hears a consistent message over time, it will eventually ring with him. For example, when I ask him what my job as a parent is, he can tell me "To keep me safe" this is because of the repititous message he has heard since he could talk. They are figuring things out, and I think it's better to be able to give them a simple explanation beyond 'no' sometimes. Yes there are times that "The answer is no, now lets move on" is enough, but there are others where it's not enough.

 

BTW, I specialized in child psychology in uni (many years ago, granted), and I have attended numerous parenting workshops in more recent times- so I'm not completely ignorant on child development. But I do not believe in absolutes when it comes to age & comprehension. Different children grasp different concepts at different ages. I think it's more important to know your child and act accordingly than to let some chart tell me what my child is capable of.

 

We are stong as a team and consistent in our approach- there's very little confusion there.

 

But thank you for your input all the same, it is of some use, even if I don't fully agree with you, there are a few points worth considering.

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*shrug*

 

You asked for points of view.

 

I gave mine.

 

You are the one who says a 5 year old is now keeping secrets from you.

 

Yes you did, and it is appreciated. I just don't agree with your assessment, is all. Like I say to everyone else on this forum, take what you can use...

 

Honestly, while yes, it bothers me that he keeps secrets, I also feel that it is healthy & normal that he do so. He's his own person, and he needs to figure out how to navigate this world on his own, in baby steps. He's entitled to some privacy and to keeps some thoughts to himself, even if it bothers me. He's growing up and I have to let him figure some things out on his own, I can't fix everything for him.

 

My problem was his comment on trust- not his keeping secrets. And while I recognized from the outset that he's a bit young to fully grasp the abstract concept of "trust', it still bothered me to hear it.

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I still remember telling my dad I thought he was fat. I was about 10. It was like I'd accused him of raping me or something, I hurt his feelings so bad. It confused me so bad it took years - decades - to understand that it wasn't my job to protect my parent's feelings.

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I still remember telling my dad I thought he was fat. I was about 10. It was like I'd accused him of raping me or something, I hurt his feelings so bad. It confused me so bad it took years - decades - to understand that it wasn't my job to protect my parent's feelings.

 

ok, but I never told him he hurt my feelings. I asked questions and we talked about trust.

 

I wrote HERE that it bothered me, because he can't read this.

 

I'm not sure where you are getting that I am making my 5 year old responsible for my feelings...

 

Having said that, I think if your father had calmly explained to you that such words were hurtful, you could have learned something about not hurting anothers feelings. I got called fat at 10, and I knew what it was like. It would have been nice if those kids had been taught to respect other peoples feelings at at that age....But I digress...

 

Children need to learn empathy too.. but that is another topic. Perhaps you have misread my posts, because I am not sure what you are getting at here.

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I was just trying to point out that adults don't truly understand the thought process kids are going through. My friend's mother told her when she was about 8 that if she didn't behave, she was going to take her back to the hospital and get a 'better' child. As a joke. That woman spent 40 years trying to please her mother, not understanding why, until we discussed it. What makes sense to you, what feels GOOD to you, may be interpreted as something entirely differently in the mind of a 5 year old. You ask a 5 year old if he trusts you, and suddenly, the floor falls out from under him.

 

What?

 

Should I not trust my parents?

 

Are they not my world? Do they not keep me safe and alive? Are they not all knowing?

 

Hmmm...I'd better be careful. I can't depend on them. They practically said so.

 

I'm not trying to be rude, but I truly don't think you understand how a 5 year old thinks. There IS no abstract reasoning in a 5 year old. He is only a few months beyond thinking that if you hide your face, you are invisible.

 

In the same vein, there was a fascinating story on NPR Monday: link removed

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You ask a 5 year old if he trusts you, and suddenly, the floor falls out from under him.

 

What?

 

Should I not trust my parents?

 

Are they not my world? Do they not keep me safe and alive? Are they not all knowing?

 

Hmmm...I'd better be careful. I can't depend on them. They practically said so.

 

I'm not trying to be rude, but I truly don't think you understand how a 5 year old thinks. There IS no abstract reasoning in a 5 year old. He is only a few months beyond thinking that if you hide your face, you are invisible.

 

???

uh, my 22 month old has grasped object permanence. My 5 year IS capable of abstract thought. He contemplates "what if.." scenarios on a regular basis, he clearly differentiates between fantasy & reality, he foresees dangerous situations for his little brother...He is pretty far beyond thinking he's invisible because he's hiding his face. I don't know ANY 5 year old who falls for that...do you even HAVE children?

 

I find it ironic that you are here telling me I don't understand my child one bit, telling me that a child doesn't comprehend WHAT trust is, but they are capable of the detailed thought process you just outlined above?

 

How can they question if they trust their parents, if they don't know what trust is? How is asking them if they trust me, telling them that they can't? That's like saying if I ask them if they have had enough to eat, that I am never going to feed them again....

 

I have tried to be respectful and appreciate your POV- but you aren't going to be happy unless I tell you you are 100% right and I am an idiot who doesn't know the first thing about parenting.

 

Sorry to disappoint you. I simply disagree with you. And no amount of insinutations that I am too stupid to understand what it's like to be a child will convince me that you know my child better than I do.

 

Thank you for your input. I'm feeling better about the situation now because this ridiculous conversation has made me realize that I am way overthinking this.

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I still remember telling my dad I thought he was fat. I was about 10. It was like I'd accused him of raping me or something, I hurt his feelings so bad. It confused me so bad it took years - decades - to understand that it wasn't my job to protect my parent's feelings.

 

I think a 10 year old IS responsible for what comes out of their mouth. Make no mistake parents have feelings and just because you are the child does not mean you get to run roughshod over them. If you had called a sibling fat or a class mate fat you would have been disciplined and so you should be if you say that to a parent. It is rude. Even 10 year olds have to own up to mistakes and pay atonement. When they don't that is how you get all kinds of people with false entitlement and feel anything they say is ok and they are not responsible. Taking away a child's responsibility teaches them severe lack of respect and harms their life in ways you will never imagine. If my son had ever called me fat he would have been sitting in his room thinking about what he had done wrong and how to make amends for that. Being a child is not a free ticket to get away with being rude. As far as owning feelings you too have to own the fact you felt bad for decades which was entirely inordinate amount of time. Parents are not Gods but people, if you say nasty things about them they are not going to say,,,"that's ok sweetie you are 10 and you have no clue what you are doing" that just implies the kid is stupid.

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I agree. You don't just turn some magical where suddenly you know everything you need to know. You learn over time from those experiences that left their mark on your psyche. That's why I try to be honest with my child and give him as much information as I think he can handle, then wait for him to ask for more. It is also why I ask him questions, to see what he has understood, and to figure out how his mind is processing things.

 

One of the biggest lessons I learned as a child, was when I was five. I looked in my fathers eyes and I lied bold faced to him. I remember it was made very clear to me that my punishment was not for having done what I lied about, but having LIED about it. Important lesson learned, at 5 years old, you don't lie to your parents.

 

Which is why I wondered about his comment. Abstracts ARE beginning to form at his age...Anyway, I've been watching him, and Victoria you are right, his actions bear out more than his words.

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