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“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

—Dr. Maria Montessori

One of the tenets of the Montessori approach is to trust your child: not to help right away if they struggle to reach for an object or master a puzzle. Observe, be nearby, offer verbal support but letting them experience the wonderful “aha” moment of figuring it out for themselves. The ability to trust oneself and others is at the root of every good relationship. How do we develop a good relationship with our children if we don't trust them? It is one of the most profound gifts we can give them. Through trust, we offer children opportunities to fully own their achievements, build confidence, and internalize the validating message: “I did it!” as opposed to the far less self-affirming: “I finally did what my parent has been wanting or telling me to do!”

Children know the difference.

Trust is also a gift for us because it saves us from wasting our energy trying to urge development forward or “fix” issues that are usually best resolved by providing children with a nurturing environment and leaving the rest up to them. Breaking away from societal norms and from our own mentality brought about by our own upbringing, confronting the ways we inadvertently disregard the dignity of children. Keeping in mind that we can't always expect success. Building skills is a learning process and will take time and patience. A parent at River Oak will be challenged to develop a vast amount of patience and unfaltering belief in their children’s ability to do things on their own no matter how much they struggle, with faith and trust as their guide. What does that feel like? It is painful at the least, excruciating at its most. It is counterintuitive to our programmed brains, believing when we were children that we did not know enough and that our parents and other adults knew better. Wouldn’t we want to strengthen our bond with our children by laying the foundation of trust early? It goes both ways. We need to earn their trust as well. If they can trust us with the little things, they’ll come to us with the big things.

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