Before we get into how building a trust circle at home can help your children behave, let us first see what a trust circle is. A trust circle is not a physical circle, but an emotional circle build between the family members. It helps children become more honest and grows the overall trust each family member has on another.
How does it work?
Family members sit down together and talk about any small or big mistakes they have made, without any repercussions involved. For example, if your child had broken your fancy showpiece by mistake, this is where they would acknowledge it, without the fear of being yelled at. The trust circle is a safe space for anyone to admit to a mistake they have made, without any consequences.
There are a few rules that need to be followed while setting up a trust circle.
1. Everyone needs to be honest.
2. Everyone needs to acknowledge their mistake and try not to repeat it.
3. Everyone needs to forgive.
4. There are no repercussions of things discussed in the trust circle.
5. Everyone needs to treat everything discussed in the trust circle as confidential and never bring it up outside the trust circle.
If these rules are followed, children are more likely, to be honest with their family; they would also try and behave in a better manner as they know they would have to acknowledge their mistakes in the trust circle.
What is the right age to start a trust circle?
The earlier you start, the easier it is, children should feel safe discussing anything with their family. Whether it is a fight they had with their friend, which school subject they are struggling with, or whether they made a mistake. They should be allowed to own up to their mistakes without the fear of punishments. As lying to get out of punishments only makes children misbehave more.
Studies have shown that disciplining children with trust, instead of punishments works better, especially with young teenagers as they tend to rebel against punishments.
How many times a month should a trust circle be held
The frequency of trust circles at your home is your choice. Some families have trust circles every day, once a week or even once a month. You need to decide what your child needs. The goal is to get children not to lie and trust their family. What I would suggest is that you at least have one a week, but again you know your children better and you should decide the frequency.
What are the benefits of a trust circle?
They are various benefits of building a trust circle at home. Children learn to own up to their mistakes; they start to trust the family more and lie less. They begin to understand the differences between silly mistakes and huge blunders.
Parents can see what problems their children are regularly facing, by knowing their mistakes parents can guide their children into avoiding them.
Spending time talking to each other without the fear of being judged and punishment brings the family closer.
Do trust circles even work; don’t children lie during them?
Whether a trust works or fails depends on the parent, the parent needs to put in the hard work, time and have the patience for their child to get involved.
In the beginning, children are not likely to be completely honest during these trust circles. Parents will have to do all the heavy lifting in the start. Parents would have to admit to mistakes they have made, to show children it is alright to make mistakes, but we must learn from them, and move forward.
The other thing is parents will have to stick to the rule of no repercussions for things mentioned during the trust circle. Remember if you get mad at your child because of any of these sessions, they are not going to honest the next time, this is one of the biggest reasons trust circles fail.
All parents have different ways of dealing with children so that a trust circle may work for your family and it may not. But one thing that will always work is being honest with one another. Trusting your children builds their trust in you.