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Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …

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How to Earn Our Children’s Trust and Improve the Relationship

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My children are all teenagers now. It’s safe to say, our relationships with each other greatly affect the way we live and feel from day-to-day. There are challenges within our relationships. There are days when security and harmony are absent in our home. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to improve our interactions and emotional safety status. Trust is a huge factor in establishing that heavenly state of security. Children, particularly those with insecure attachment styles, can’t let love fully into their vulnerable hearts until they trust us.

How children view trust

Childhood trauma and attachment physician, Dr. Aimee Apigian, says a child with an attachment disorder learns to trust through perceiving the adult as strong, stronger than they are. The adult must also be dependable.

Some of the characteristics that your child will be looking at to see if they can trust you include being predictable, all- knowing, super strong in character, and consistent throughout all situations… They will continue to push further in their behaviors until they are satisfied that you are unchangeable (super strong in character), consistent, in control of your own emotions, and able to control their emotions and behaviors. If you react with anger, if you allow their lies or manipulation to continue, or if you break down in tears when they won’t stop because you don’t know what to do, you have just failed the trust test.

— Dr. Aimee Apigian, “Two Lessons to be a Parent Who Can Heal Their Child”

I can’t tell you how many times I have failed the trust test. I know I let my children down when I was stressed and distant during the end of the marriage. I would flow with quality love and attention and then withdraw to my writing or close nourishing relationships. I withdrew to self-soothe, to take gulps of rejuvenating air.

I have broken down in tears because I was so hurt/angry/exhausted I did not know what to do with my child’s behavior or needs.

Strong and sensitive

I know my emotions have been seen as a sign of weakness or even stupidity in my son’s eyes. I’m pretty sure weakness and stupidity do not equate to strong.

Over the last few years, I have worked on building up my resilience to emotional and relationship wounds. In fact, my book, “The Quiet Rise of the Introvert: 8 Practices for Living and Loving in a Noisy World” is based on this personal and relationship strengthening. The biggest lesson has been that I cannot be emotionally strong without help and support. As an introvert, it was challenging at first to switch my thinking and actions to include others, but once I did, the drain of people lessened. I continue to become stronger, which benefits my children and me.

Nurture and structure

Part of my growth process has been to improve my level of responsiveness or dependability to my loved ones. Through research and real life practice I’ve learned to be more present, empathetic and consistent. I have a better understanding of how to make my children feel secure. I know, for example, listening with my eyes as my daughter talks about her rough afternoon is more important than turning my back to her and making headway on dinner preparation.

Consistency is another area I continue to be a student. Enforcing bedtimes, house rules and chores gives my kids a feeling of structure and consistency. Making sure I am not late to pick them up or do not forget to put money on their lunch accounts also go a long way in proving my accountability.

By the way, parents slip up. I aim for an 80% success rate, really more like 90%, but most experts say 80% is sufficient. I think my kids are particularly sensitive to being forgotten/disappointed, so I strive for a high percentage of success.

I struggle to not let my kids’ emotions affect mine. It’s easy for me to absorb their hurt or fear or anger and let it sway my decision-making. I know from past experiences, that in the long run my decisions (which if I’m on my game, are based on everyone’s long-term best interests), are often deemed acceptable after all the chaos dies down. The key is to gain understanding and express empathy but also lead the way by making choices based on my adult knowledge and experience.

Not too permissive or too strict

Love and understanding without structure and consistency do not make the child feel safe. They will not see you as strong and dependable, just easily swayed or (ugh) manipulated. Enforced structure and rules also help them develop self-discipline, another element of security.

Rigid rules and strict consequences do provide predictability (positive for children) but the child will not trust the adult is on their side if the relationship lacks understanding and empathy. They may respect the adult’s authority, but still not trust them.

Without trust, love isn’t allowed in or out. It’s too scary.

How have you earned your child’s trust? How have you failed the trust test? What can you work on? 

If you’d like help creating greater trust and security within your family, please contact me for relationship coaching


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  1. Noodle on This: Are You Trustworthy February 16, 2018 at 10:55 am - Reply

    […] Trapeze: Brenda Knowles Space to Live […]

  2. Michael June 2, 2017 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    I think few of us grow up feeling really safe. we carry into our ‘adult years’ all the things we learned, and didn’t learn, growing up. some we overcome and heal from. some we don’t.

    we are human. sometimes the best we can do is apologize when we’re wrong. without excuses, defenses — just “I was wrong, and I’m really sorry.” those words go a long ways toward healing the ones we hurt, and ourselves.

    we all screw up. the problem is, sometimes we have a hard time just going, ‘I screwed up.’ and I’ll try do better.

    perhaps the best lesson we can teach our children, and ourselves, is that we are human. all of our frailties. all of our genius. all our gifts, failings, quirks, flaws, talents. our light side, and our dark side. we are all of it. the sooner we come to grips with all of who we are, the better for us, our kids, and the world.

    Carl Jung said, “I don’t aspire to be a good man. I aspire to be a whole man.” I have come to that place, finally. We are good. and we are much else. May we become real, and whole.

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