How Parents Can Form a Trust Bond with Their Teen
Parenting is a full-time job. You can’t take any breaks until your child is old enough to make their own decisions. In these years, the one most important thing is developing a relationship with your teen based on trust.
If you are the type of parent who snoops through their teen’s diaries and checks their online activities obsessively, we need to have a serious talk. Your detective skills will someday cost you the bond with your teen. So, instead of going behind their back, why not build their trust in you so that they share their problems with you on their own.
On the Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon asked entertainer Will Smith about how he handles parenting, and this is what he said, “We started with a thing that was interesting. When they were really young, we did a thing called Circle of Safety. Within the Circle of Safety, kids can tell you anything you want, they can tell us anything that they did, and they can cleanse it all out and they don’t get in trouble.” Later, Smith told Fallon that the kids got so used to it that they would tell even the minutest details.
Aspire to reach this level of trust so that you can be more of your teen’s friend than an authority figure.
So, how does a parent go about building this kind of trust?
Tips on How to Build Your Teen’s Trust in You
1. Listen, Listen, and Listen
One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is that they don't listen to their teens. For a change, instead of shouting, “You are grounded,” why not ask them, “Want to tell me what happened?”
Make appropriate comments and instead of reprimanding your teen, give them advice; this is a great relationship-building technique. A hasty reaction will never go well with a teen. So, keep yourself in check, and get to know the what, why, and how of the situation.
2. Be Consistent
If the rules punish your teen for something, make sure that the punishment stands for that caliber of indiscretions. At the same time, maintain the standard of the reward. Do not change it up by saying, “I am the parent.” This is not an explanation. Being consistent with the punishment and rewards will let your teen know that if they do something wrong, they will have to face the consequences.
3. Give Incremental Freedom
No one expects a baby to start running the next day. So, why do you expect your teen to change overnight? For example, you bought your teen a new car. The responsibility is huge and since they just learned to drive, you are worried they might crash into something or someone. So, you set the rules that they can drive within a 5-mile radius. After a week, you will revisit their request, do a little test drive, and then lift the limitations. Apply this to everything to build motivation in your teen to do more.
4. Make Time for Them
No matter how busy your schedule is, make time for your teen. Eat together, do a DIY project, assist them in their hobby, and have activities that you do together. Spending quality time with your teen will show them that you care about them and what they love.
5. Be Supportive
If your teen likes doing something and you don’t approve of it, don’t make the mistake of saying “no” to it. Be supportive and let them spread their wings. In case they fall, don’t come back with an “I told you so.” Just stand by them and ask them what they want to do next ― “Should we start again or try something new?”
That’s how you get your teen to trust you! As we said earlier, try to be your teen’s friend. If you act as a parent all the time, they will see you as someone who always responds with a “no.” So, listen to them, ask questions, offer advice, and tell them you will always be by their side.