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How to Establish Trust in Teens

by Tiffany Raiford

If you can't trust your teenagers, and they cannot trust you, life with teenagers in the home will become especially difficult. Everyone is entitled to trust, though sometimes when trust is broken it can be difficult to earn back. To establish trust in your relationship with your teen, you both must be willing to do the work it takes to earn that trust.

Communicate with your teen. According to experts with the Aspen Education Group, sit down and talk openly with your teen to discuss what your expectations of trust are. You need to vocalize what you expect your teen to do to build your trust, and you need to let your teen provide you with the same information. Opening the lines of communication will help your family become open-minded and accepting to establishing trust in your relationships.

Speak to the good. To create trust in a relationship, you need to speak to the good when it comes to disciplining your teen. Rather than simply telling her "no," "you can’t do that, stop that," "don’t" or "that’s wrong" -- you need to use positives. According to the Aspen Education Center, help your teen understand how to establish trust by using positives. For example, instead of making a long list of acts she cannot do, provide her with examples of things she can do to gain your trust, such as performing well in school and behaving respectfully at home.

Give your teen positive reinforcement. When he feels his good deeds and behavior are being recognized, he is more likely to feel he is doing his part to establish trust. To do this, focus more on recognizing his good behavior than pointing out his negative behavior. For example, say thank you when he puts the dishes away or tell him you’re proud of him for making good grades this semester.

Model the behavior you would like your teen to exhibit. This means you must maintain honesty so your teen can trust you. Don't lie to your teen. For example, if you called your teen's teacher to find out how she’s behaving in school, be honest with your teen. Don’t make up excuses such as telling your daughter you ran into her teacher at the supermarket and he mentioned your daughter was doing well in class. If her teacher mentions your call, she’ll know you were lying and begin to think that trust is not something the two of you can establish.

Tip

  • Work hard to do your part in establishing trust with your teen. It takes two to establish trust.

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