How to Build Trust with Your Teen?
Being a teen these days is filled with many ups and downs. Teens experience pressure in many aspects of their lives, and they need support from their parents. In order to help them, you need to gain their trust by starting conversations with them that are authentic and spending time getting to know their needs and interests.
The more you can support them through the changes as they unfold, without judgement, criticism or any attempts to push against them, the more they will be open to our direction, guidance and influence.
Why is building trust with your teenager important?
Your child needs your trust to help them in their transition through to adulthood. Actually, this trust needs to be mutual. You and your child need to meet in the middle and develop a healthy way to trust in each other. As children grow up and become more independent, they begin to notice and question more. It’s around this time that your child may notice whether you do what you say you will do, which is a key factor in building trust. Talk to them about the importance of honesty and trust, but also make sure it’s reflected in your actions.
Why Is It So Hard Getting Your Teen to Talk?
There are so many reasons that your teen might not want to talk that they are almost impossible to list. Here’s a few to get started:
- My parents always overreact
- How can you be so nosy and intrusive?
- How can you possibly imagine how my life feels
- When can I get back to my game or phone?
- How can I mention taboo subjects like sex, drugs, girl issues,
- What are the consequences for forgetting homework / not studying / detention and should I even bother to tell them myself?
- My parents always want to get so deep, personal or bring up how we feel.
Ways to Connect With Your Teen and Get Them Talking
Validate their feelings.
It is often our tendency to try to solve problems for our kids, or downplay their disappointments. But saying something like “They weren’t right for you anyway” after a romantic disappointment can feel dismissive. Instead, show your teenagers that you understand and empathize them.
Spend time together.
Talking isn’t the only way to communicate, and during these years it’s great if you can spend time doing things you both enjoy, whether it’s cooking or hiking or going to the movies, without talking about anything personal.
It’s normal for kids to go through some changes as they mature, but pay attention if you notice changes to their mood, behavior, energy level, or appetite. Take note if they stop wanting to do things that used to make them happy, or if you notice them isolating.
Avoid Asking Questions.
It sounds so counter-intuitive. But if your teen has fears about your judgment, or you often get into arguments, he or she won’t want to open up. So don’t ask them many questions. If you hold back and listen to what your teen says, trust builds. Sure, you can tackle worrying topics at another time, but as your child gets started talking about their day or recent experiences it can help to just nod or say simple supportive things:
Involve them in problem solving.
They’re starting to explore new ways of looking at things and thinking about things. They’ll be creative, brave and will show you unexpected paths. You will be surprised at what they can teach you.
Seek a professional help.
Dr. Carla gives you proven parenting strategies to bust away attitude and bring lasting closeness and understanding. Set up a time to talk with her and benefit from a free consultation!