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How to Rebuild Trust Between a Teen and a Parent

by Tiffany Raiford

When your teen breaks your trust it's often difficult to regain it again. When she does something that makes it impossible for you to take her word and believe what she says, an apology and the promise to do better in the future is not enough to replace the trust that was lost. It isn’t easy to rebuild trust after it's lost, but both you and your teen need to make the effort to do so because trust is an integral part of your relationship. Without trust, it's difficult to have a good relationship that includes respect, open communication and mutual enjoyment.

Define your expectations of trust. According to the Aspen Education Group, you should talk to your teen regarding your expectations. You should both clearly state what you expect from each other to rebuild the trust in your relationship. This makes it easier for both of you. For example, if your idea of trust is keeping promises, tell your teen. He can’t help rebuild the trust in your relationship if he doesn’t know what you expect of him. He also should get to tell you what he expects from you. For example, he might say that he needs you to respect his privacy by not going through his things or checking up on him with numerous phone calls. You can then determine how much privacy you can afford him, depending on the situation. You can also explain that once your trust is rebuilt, you can offer him more privacy.

Treat your teen according to her age. While a teen is not yet an adult, she is no longer a child and as such, you can't treat her like a child by talking down to her and telling her that she is too young to understand something. You can help rebuild the trust in your relationship if you take the time to explain things to your teen, being honest with her about things that she is old enough to understand -- and trusting in her maturity level.

Discuss your rules and consequences with your teen -- and revise them to make them age appropriate. For example, if your teen is 16 and still has the same 8 p.m. weekend curfew he had when he was 14, he’s more likely to break curfew. Sit him down and discuss the rules, coming up with new, age-appropriate rules together. If he has a part in helping make the rules, he’s more likely to view them as fair and is less likely to break them.

Trust yourself to make good parenting decisions -- and stand by those decisions. It’s difficult to build or rebuild a trusting relationship with your teen if you don't trust yourself first. As the parent, it is your job to trust that you know what’s best for your teen and how to keep her safe, healthy and on track to a successful life.

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