Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trust

Trust is key in relationships. With our primary relationship with God, trusting Him is a form of surrender, love, and worship. Trusting a spouse is imperative. Without trust, suspicion, jealousy, resentment, and a host of other feelings can grow within a marriage. And trust with our children is also very important. If we cannot trust our children to do what we ask, to keep the boundaries we put into place, those children then lose independence and blessings. For older kids that may mean being grounded. For younger kids that may mean not leaving Mom or Dad's sight.

Building trust with a child that you adopt is an interesting thing. As with many relationships, it does not come automatically. Trust grows when a person proves they are worthy of it. For Aria, she trusts us more as she sees us care for her - feed her, clothe her, nurture her, be there for her, tuck her in, play with her, and so on. For us on the parental end, trust grows when we see that Aria desires to follow our rules and tries to obey the boundaries we put into place.

When boundaries are not known to her, we cannot fault her. For example, I was very surprised to find a magazine of mine in her room covered with a bunch of her baby dolls. I asked her if she took my magazine, and she admitted she did. Although I was confronting her, trust was being built in one way because she answered me honestly. I then asked her why she did it, and she said she didn't know. I was surprised that she took the magazine for a couple of reasons. First, my magazine was not just sitting around in a way that would've been easy to grab. It would've taken her some effort to get it. Second, the kids aren't allowed to go in our room and just take random things out and put them in their rooms. However, with the latter point, Chad and I had not specifically told Aria this rule. How could she obey a rule that she was not aware of? Interesting, though... even though I know that and this was an opportunity for me to talk to her about yet another boundary in our home, I still came away from the conversation feeling like I trusted Aria a little less. Yes, she didn't lie to me this time, which I appreciated. But she also got into my room, took something of mine, and treated it roughly. I know now I'm going to have to watch out for Aria doing that again or in some other form, because even with the boundary set in place, it doesn't mean she won't cross it.

Just this afternoon, Aria and JJ were playing together very unkindly and inappropriately. Although both were quick to tell on each other, both were also quick to deny that they did any wrong to the other. After pressing, I found out that both were lying to me. There are two things in parenting that break trust faster than anything else... lying and disobedience. Part of JJ's and Aria's correction for their misbehavior and lying was to each play in their own rooms apart from one another. I made it quite clear they were not to come out of their rooms, they were not to talk to one another from the doorways, but rather stay in their rooms and play alone. I went downstairs for about 5 minutes, and Elliana told me that Aria came out of her room and went to see JJ. I went upstairs to ask Aria about this. Once again she told me the truth and admitted she left her room. I then asked her where she was supposed to be. She told me she was supposed to stay in Aria's room. Whether by simply forgetting what I said or just trying to get away with something, once again trust was broken. I could not trust her to stay in her room without watching that she would do so.

I wish I could say these types of behaviors were few and far between, but too often the trust is broken in my relationship with Aria. Yes, I know some of this is just plain foolishness that is bound in a child's heart. Some of this could be Aria adjusting to following rules. Some of this, sadly though, is purposeful and intentional. When I give an instruction and see Aria trying to break it when she thinks I'm not looking, it frustrates me, it angers me, it saddens me. Although I would feel that way with any of my kids if they did that, it is so much more with Aria. And I think the reason for that is because I simply cannot trust Aria much of the time. And because I cannot trust her, it is difficult at times for me to bond with her. And when it's difficult for me to bond with her, it's difficult for me to feel all the warm fuzzy feelings I long to feel for her.

I know it's early in our relationship. I know we have many bad behaviors still to overcome in her. I know there is still a bit of a language barrier (although I have found that in issues of trust, that has not been a factor - I can tell at this point when she understands me and when she doesn't). I know that she is in the "frustrating fours", as my mom calls them. I know all of these things. But my mind knowing them doesn't take away the frustration in living with these behaviors way more often than I'd like. The trust here is fledgling at best. And that can make for long days, really for both Aria and me.

I look forward to the day when I know I can leave Aria alone for more than 5 minutes without worrying what she's doing or getting into. I look forward to the day that I'm confident that when I say "Don't", she will obey more often than not (rather than the other way around). I look forward to the day when I don't have to sift through so many lies from her to find the truth. I look forward to the day when our trust will be more stable and secure, rather than the roller coaster ride we seem to be on in the last month. I look forward to all these things... but to get there, we need to deal with the NOW.

And right now... we're working on having trust.

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