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Building trust with your teenager

Maria Fernandes

Trust is an important part of any relationship and teaching children especially teens, the concept of trust is very essential. Integrating trustworthiness into our character and behavior does not come easily. It happens gradually over many years and is not an all or nothing proposition and has to be worked on.


Why is building trust with your teenager important?

As teenagers transit into adulthood, they need the trust of parents to help them through the difficult period. This trust cannot be one-sided and has to be mutual. You and your children need to meet in the middle and develop a healthy way to trust in each other and the decisions made. A relationship without trust leads to second-guessing and questioning each other’s honesty. Remember building trust will not be easy and before you start trusting your teenager, there will be slips, arguments and more. Trust builds slowly and can be broken down easily.

When your child was young she trusted you completely as the person who kept her safe. However, as she grows she will start questioning everything. She will also start noticing if you are keeping your word or not and this is a key factor in trust-building. You as a parent cannot demand trust as it is a gradual process that requires mutual commitment. Building trust with your teen will also play an important role in how she perceives people and the trust she places in others in the future.

Benefits of trust-building with your teenager are many and some of them are: Your teenager will feel free to talk and confide in you, this will strengthen your bond with her and set her up for positive relationships into adulthood.

A few tips on building trust with your teen:

Listen without judging and keep conversations with your teen confidential.

Do not read their private messages to friends or check their phones unless it is an emergency.

Give them space and allow them some privacy. Example: If they have a room to themselves, knock before entering the room

Just as every child wants to be trusted, every parent needs to earn their child’s trust. Parents build trust every time they treat others with respect, follow through on a commitment or promise, or stand firm in setting and enforcing boundaries.

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