I was in Los Angeles last weekend, walking around DTLA and people watching and observed something I had seen thousands of times over the years: Parents telling their kids what to do. Not in the sense of "Throw away your trash" or "Come here", but things like "You need to trust me" and "Calm down".
It occurred to me that the most effective parents, the ones that have a deep relationship with their child, and the ones that ultimately raise physically & emotionally healthy children that go on to lead independent, successful & fulfilling lives, all have 1 trait in common.
They don't use declarations to shape their relationship with their child. They use demonstrations.
It's one thing to constantly declare that you can be trusted, you should be respected, or you are an authority. It's another thing entirely to demonstrate that you can be trusted, you are respectable and you are knowledgeable. The parents that we see in our work that are effective are the ones that take time to say all they need to say through their actions, not their words.
It's often the little things that send these messages through demonstrations. When your child wants to share something with you, do you brush it off? Are you genuinely interested? How do you model dealing with your own stress, fear and insecurities? The way you show up in the world demonstrates to your child what is important, and, in turn, how they fit into the world.