If You Make a Promise to Your Child, Keep It

If You Make a Promise to Your Child, Keep It
Valeria Sabater

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Written by Valeria Sabater

Last update: 22 December, 2021

If you make a promise to your child, keep it. Never promise something just to make them happy in the moment. If you do this and don’t comply, you’ll be harming the bond you have with them.

Children have a fascinating memory. However, their capacity to retain information is curiously “selective.”

They can, for example, forget to put on their shoes when they go to school, yet they’ll never forget the promise you made a week ago to take them to get ice-cream.

How can that be? How can they show such selective retentiveness for the things they’re most interested in?

In order to understand this topic we must understand a simple concept: keeping a promise is more relevant in a child’s mind than in that of an adult.

Children need to develop in an environment that is full of certainties, not of uncertainties. When something is promised and not fulfilled, it confuses them and creates false expectations. It also disappoints them.

Not only are we directly attacking their emotional world by not keeping our promises, but in their eyes we’ll also appear to be untrustworthy people with low credibility.

What kind of upbringing or education can we provide to our children if they stop trusting us? This is clearly a situation that nobody wants to occur.

Therefore, here are 4 key aspects that show the importance of keeping the promises we make to our children.

  1. If you keep the promises you make to your children, you’ll “mold” their personal integrity 

If You Make a Promise to Your Child, Keep It

Surely you’ve heard about Bandura’s theory of social learning. Within its framework we find what is known as “modeling.” A large part of a child’s learning is based on the imitation of the behavior carried out by a model, for example their parents.

  • Children lay the foundation for their sociability and their way of understanding the world through modeling.
  • If your children see their mother and father fulfill everything they say, they’ll develop personal integrity. They’ll understand that fulfilling promises is something that is satisfactory for everyone and therefore, it’s something worth imitating.
  1. It shows them that they’re important

You love your children madly, however… Do you think you show it well? Younger children don’t understand that their parents spend part of their day outside of the home to be able to offer them the best, to guarantee their well-being, feeding and education.

Children are only able to perceive their parent’s absence. Therefore, the best way for our children to feel loved is to make them feel “important” whenever we can.

  • Promise them that you’ll sit with them to watch their favorite movie.
  • Promise them that after school you’ll go with them to the park.
  • Assure them that as soon as you get home you’ll be there for them.
  • Promise that if you arrive late from work, you’ll still read them a story before going to bed.
  • Promise them that tonight you’ll prepare their favorite dinner.

All of these examples are ways to spend time with them. It shows them that they’re the best and most important thing to you.

  1. It shows them how to build quality relationships

If You Make a Promise to Your Child, Keep It

The happiest and most satisfying relationships are built on trust, authenticity and security.

By being a model to your children through promises made, you teach them that only a few things can be as rewarding as the feeling that those who love us are trustworthy people. They are people who don’t lie. They are our pillars in our daily life.

This way, they’ll build stronger friendships and more mature relationships in the future. As you can see, what you’re really doing is “training them for life.” Is there anything that can be more satisfying?

Remember that if you break your word; you will be breaking something that cannot be repaired


  1. If you keep your promises your children will respect you

There are only a few things that can be more problematic in a family dynamic than having a partner, mother or father who often forgets the promises they’ve made.

As a result of this, the rest of the family members lose respect for that person. If a child sees a lack of integrity in their mother or father, they’ll be disappointed, upset or even angry. Little by little the bond with the child will erode.

Therefore, there is nothing as important as keeping the promises made to your children throughout their childhood. Both small and big promises should be fulfilled. It gives the little one certainty, security and trust. Tomorrow they’ll turn into responsible and happy adults.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.