Begin social interaction and the pre-dating process with “The Bulls Eye Approach”. This means that you start small and work your way out.  Allow your child to practice by giving them small bits of trust.   You begin by allowing your children a little bit of freedom.  When they prove themselves trustworthy, for staying on track with their independence, you can allow them a little more freedom.  For example, as your children get older you can allow them to ride their bikes in the neighborhood.  (Obviously you don’t make any of these decisions hastily because your children’s safety needs to be your primary concern)  Next you may allow them to ride their bike to the park in your neighborhood.  You establish boundaries, such as a time to be home.  “Hit the Bull’s Eye (ride your bike only where we said you should ride your bike and be home when we said you need to be home) and we’ll try this again.  Miss the Bull’s Eye and we will know you aren’t ready to do this by yourself.

It is the parent’s responsibility to hold the child accountable.  Take the car and make sure that they are at the park.  If they are trustworthy and come home within the time frame they hit the Bully’s Eye and freedom is their reward.  If they did not follow instructions then they need to have a consequence and until they can prove themselves trustworthy, no biking to the neighborhood park.

This training is all preparation for the years to come … for the things that require big trust, such as dating or going out with their friends.  Through this experience you have shown them two things.  You love them enough to be holding them accountable and you will be checking up on them.  Being consistent in these two areas of your parenting will also communicate that you are trustworthy as well.