If you don’t trust yourself, did you know that your children may not trust themselves, either? It’s likely that you developed a mistrust for yourself from your parents. It is something that you picked up as a kid, and it carried to your adult life. You pass it on to your kids, and they will continue the process to their kids.

Your actions and conversations may be subtle. Your kids will hear what you and your spouse talk about as well as discussions by, or with, other family members. You may well do things that you’re not even aware of, but your kids will pick up on those as well.

It’s a difficult situation because you want your kids to be safe. You can’t just let them trust everyone who they speak to or meet. It’s a dangerous world, and kids can become victims if you don’t teach them to be cautious.

Trusting yourself requires trusting others, and that’s where the difficulty comes in. You have likely been burned by a few people enough times to warrant your caution. But, these experiences are going to resonate with your children, and you should try to find a balance between getting them to trust certain people while remaining cautious.

Of course, you want to teach your kids always to be trustworthy themselves, even if others are not to them. It will be nearly impossible for them to trust themselves if they are not trustworthy. If they let others down, they won’t have any reason to develop an internal trust. That means that you and your spouse will have to be trustworthy.

You may be trustworthy to kids but not to other people. That can send the wrong signals to kids if you tell them they should be trustworthy to others. It will leave them confused and unsure what to do. That will lead to the long-term behavior of not being trustworthy, which means they won’t trust themselves.

Be sure to talk to your kids to help them develop the balance between caution and trust. If they have questions, be open to answering them. Try not to take offense if they feel you are sending mixed signals with regards to trust. When you find that balance and your kids find it too, your family will have the necessary means to trust each other and yourselves. It’s not easy, but it is definitely worth the effort. You just have to keep at it.