Trust, friendship and parenting

I’m preparing now for a parenting seminar I’ll be leading at The Well, a church in Feasterville, PA, on February 9. My family has been attending The Well for a few months now and love the interaction from all the leaders there.

The title of my seminar is “Building Child Discipline Through Trust.” I must admit that while I’ll be presenting principles that I’ve been working on for years, the inspiration came from a blog post by The Well’s lead pastor, Todd Hiestand. In this post, Todd brought forward the need for vulnerability in friendships.

Here is a simple fact: If you cannot be vulnerable, you won’t have deep friendships.

Think about it, friendships are forged in vulnerability. When I have a friend who I trust, I share my life with them. They know me better. We become closer friends. They share their life with me. I know them better. We become closer friends.

I don’t mean to imply that parents should relate to their children as friends. I would, however, suggest that the same vulnerability that leads to good trusting friendships can bring a parent-child relationship to a more trusting place.

In his post, Todd mentions a TED talk by Brené Brown called the “Power of the Vulnerable.” In this talk Brené talks about vulnerability and how it satisfies the need to belong. In her concluding remarks she makes the point that a parent’s job is not to look at their new born child and claim it perfect while creating a perfect plan for achievement. Rather, the parent’s job is to look at the newborn and to say, “you’re imperfect and wired for struggle, but you’re worthy of love and belonging.”

Being vulnerable in family relationships is how we teach our children that imperfection is not an impediment to worthiness and belonging. Children need parents who are trustworthy. Admitting imperfection lets your children know the truth about you.