How to Build Trust with Your Teenager

By Janhavi Desai | 3-4 mins read | April 7, 2020
How to Build Trust with Your Teenager
Trusting Your Teenager Is A Challenging But Necessary Part Of Their Growth

Teenage is one of the most difficult phases of an individual’s life, full of dizzying thoughts and emotions resulting in confusion and irrational aggressiveness. Parents often feel like they have no option but to resort to punishments for teenagers who lie, but those methods will only distance your teenager from you. It would serve you better to try and understand why they lied or you may unwittingly end up encouraging them to keep secrets from you. Chances are, you won’t find out if they’re in trouble till it is too late. It is crucial to handle teenagers with care due to this very reason. Here are some tips for parents on how to build trust with your teenager.

Give Them Space

Teenagers today experience all forms of growth much earlier than you might realize. Keep an eye out for signs of typical teenage behaviour. When you notice such changes, understand that they’ve started building the foundation of their adult life. To ensure that they do it right, your relationship with them should evolve as they grow older. Remember that at this point in their lives, behaviour is almost always purely reactionary. Your approach towards them will determine theirs towards you. If you are uncertain, lacking trust and respect for your teenagers, that’s exactly how they’ll treat you. Give them some respect and privacy and they’ll start maturing quite well.

No More “Because I Said So”

Teenagers are generally striving to establish a sense of self. They will push their limits to try and assert their individuality. Your protectiveness might feel unreasonable and suffocating to them, and they might take it as a challenge to their self-assertion. The best way to avoid fuelling teenage anger issues is to respect your child’s growing intellect. When there is a clash of interests, patiently explain the logic behind your position rather than trying to impose your decisions on them.

Let Them Make Their Mistakes

Teenagers make mistakes. We all did the same in our time; it’s hypocritical to expect our kids to be perfect but you can’t just stand by and let them wreck their lives. Parenting a teenager is tricky: too much involvement means violating their privacy, too little means neglecting parental duty. Come down to the golden middle. Offer your advice but be prepared to respect their decision if they choose not to heed your words.

Make Sure You’re Close In Case They Fail

You may badly want your children to learn from your experiences, but the unfortunate truth is that life doesn’t work that way. When they get into trouble for doing something against your advice, getting angry and saying “I told you so” are natural responses, but both hurt your chances in gaining your teenager’s trust. Instead, when they’re in trouble, help them out of the situation first and then ask them what they learned from the experience. This shows your teenager that you are a safe person to open up to because you’re on their side.

Getting Them Out Of Harmful Company

There’s immense pressure on teenagers to make friends and prove that they ‘belong’ amongst their peers. The list of top 10 common teenage problems most probably begins with getting into the wrong company . Your disapproval of or disinterest in their social circles will only push them further into rebelling against you. Instead, engage in intellectual conversation with them and ask for their opinions on things. It shows them that their opinions matter to you even though you’re an adult. They’ll automatically seek friends who value them like you do.

Communicate As Openly As Possible

Silent treatment or grounding as punishments for teenagers who lie or make mistakes will only make them better at covering up and keeping secrets. Using fear to get small children to behave well is okay, but with teenagers, it doesn’t take long for the fear to turn into anger or hatred. Instead, if you give them some credit and discuss problems upfront, you’ll find that they eventually take the insolence out of their approach to you.

If Trust Is Breached, Work To Rebuild It

Breaches of trust are very difficult to get past even between adults, but repairing relationships with teenagers is even tougher. It’s important to remember that a break in the relationship between parents and teenagers can be caused by the parents, too. If you do something that breaks your child’s trust in you, do exactly what you’d expect your child to do when they’ve made a mistake. Own up, apologise, tell them why you thought you had to do it and ask how you can regain their trust. If your teenager breaks your trust, ask them why and let them know how it made you feel. However, don’t overdo it, and don’t leave them feeling unworthy of your love and trust anymore. Tell them you still love them and let them know how they can regain your trust.

Don’t keep your teenagers from having to take responsibility for their mistakes and let them have the credit for their achievements. There is no foolproof formula that shows you how to build trust with your teenager, but don’t be intimidated by the challenge and be prepared to improvise. Closing doors can cause lifelong rifts in parent-child relationships, but open communication greatly strengthens them. Parenting a teenage girl or boy is a strenuous task, so make sure you give yourself some time to breathe, too. Not everything they do is a result of your parenting style, so relax and enjoy the ride.

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About The Author:
Janhavi Desai

Last Updated: April 7, 2020
This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the above blog/article text are the personal views of the author, and not necessarily reflect the views of SchoolMyKids. Any omission or errors are the author's and we do not assume any liability or responsibility for them.
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