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How Promises You Break Can Poison Your Child’s Life

We mean the world to our children and when we let them down, it’s a tragedy. A simple promise we make in a rush and break afterward may mean nothing to us, but it may shout to our kids, “You don’t matter to your mom and dad!” Children can remember broken promises for years, and if you don’t want your child to think of you as “a liar,” it’s better to keep the promises you make no matter what it takes.

Here at Bright Side we took a closer look at what happens to kids when parents break their promises.

Your kids may start thinking you’re a liar.

We teach our kids that it’s crucial to keep promises, but sometimes we ourselves fail to do it. When you tell your child that something will happen and then it never comes true, technically you “lie,” and your kid will be able to make this simple conclusion. Just remember the last time someone broke their promise to you. Did it hurt? And now imagine a feeling many times worse — this is how our kids may feel when they’re let down by the most important people in their lives.

They may think they don’t matter to you.

Of course, you don’t mean to hurt you kid’s feelings when you suddenly break a promise you’ve given to them. But your kids may feel they don’t matter to you, because you put what’s important to them at the end of the list and finally forgot about it. Relationships require hard work, and when you keep this promise no matter what it takes, it makes you a hero in your kid’s eyes and a good example to follow.

They will break their own promises.

Parents are role models for their kids, and when they keep breaking their promises, kids may think about following this pattern too. They may think, “If my mom (dad) doesn’t keep her word, why should I?” We don’t want our children to become promise breakers when they grow up, but when we take our promises too easy, we push our kids toward doing exactly the same thing.

Finally, they may lose their trust and respect for you.

When we do as we say, it helps our children feel secure and builds trust between us. When this trust is betrayed our children may feel lost, especially when they’re too young to understand the concept of giving and keeping promises. Eventually, they may lose their respect for you and what you say, because they’ll see that your promises are not followed by actions.

Does this mean you shouldn’t promise your child anything? Not at all. Avoiding promising things means you’re not ready to commit yourself to a relationship with other people, and your child in particular. Parents who avoid making promises can make their kids not feel confident enough to take any risks. When you give and keep a promise, your kid knows there’s someone they can rely on, someone who will make anything happen to support them. Just make sure you make promises you can keep and try your best to do it.

Do you always keep the promises you make to your kids? Do you remember your parents breaking their promises to you?

Illustrated by Ekaterina Gandrabura for Bright Side