More on credibility

When kids are little, they trust the words of their adults completely, whether or not those adults have demonstrated credibility.  As kids get older, and they’ve had a chance to start gathering information and experience of their own, they have higher expectations of what adults tell them and what we ask them to go along with.  Our credibility is no longer automatic; we have to start demonstrating that we have grounds for what we’re saying.  (Well, we don’t have to.  It just becomes a requirement for credibility where once it wasn’t.)  Adults often opt instead for just insisting that kids take what they say as truth.  If you want credibility with kids as they get older, you have to demonstrate that what you say will hold up under scrutiny.

It’s not as dramatic as it sounds.  It just takes admitting that as adults we have experiences and suggestions to offer, but we don’t know everything and our opinions and ideas aren’t necessarily all there is.  It helps to seem willing to learn and change our minds, to acknowledge that everything hasn’t been decided or determined yet. Kids really don’t need us to know everything, they just want to know that they can count on us to tell them what we do know and operate as though it’s possible that it’s not the whole story.