Making Promises to Your Kids
By Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
I was bringing my kids home from a long
day of play one summer night not long ago. It was a difficult ride
home, and they were tired, hungry, and whiny. I wanted to get them
home as fast as I could.
As we neared our house, my son
exclaimed, "You said you'd take us for ice cream!" I
cringed when I heard this, because I remembered that I'd promised
that I'd take them for ice cream. I began to give excuses concerning
why we needed to go home.
They would have none of it.
I turned the car around, and we went to
get ice cream. We got home past their bed time, and they were tired.
But there was something that felt good about this ice cream trip. I
kept my word to my kids. And my word is something that I always want
them to be able to count on.
Your kids will have an incredible
memory for the promises you make to them. In fact, you can assume
that any promise you've ever made to your kids has been remembered.
It's important to know why this is so.
When kids are younger, they have very powerful emotions that
dominate their lives. Can you remember how excited you were as a
young child when you went to a ball game for the first time or went
on a trip?
Kids live in their emotions, and when
they hear something promised to them, they get very excited. They
can picture the promise happening and keep it with them in a way
that's much more powerful than we're able to. For this reason, they
won't forget what you promise them. Ever! So don't even think about
making a promise that you might not be able to keep.
It doesn't take too much for kids to
begin to lose trust in you. A few broken promises can have a big
impact on a child. Very simply, one of your jobs as a parent is to
keep your promises. Treat them as sacred, and do what's necessary to
Some day your kids may grow up and have
their own kids. Wouldn't it be nice to see that they've learned the
importance of keeping their promises with them?
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches men to be better fathers and husbands. He is the author of
"25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent
Fathers". Sign up for his FREE bi-weekly newsletter, "Dads, Don't Fix Your Kids," at http://www.markbrandenburg.com.