Parents are more used to not trusting their teenage daughters than to having their teens not trust them. Sometimes, parents may be put in the position of having to win back their teenager daughter's trust because they lied, they broke a promise, they betrayed a confidence or they kept back something important from her. It is important that parents take the time to win back their teenage daughter's trust so that they can repair the relationship and re-open the lines of communication.
Be a Role Model
Teen girls who feel that they have been lied to or betrayed may act out inappropriately. They may yell, call names or withhold their affection. She Knows cautions parents that this irrational behavior is normal, as teens do not yet know how to handle their emotions in a healthy way and they may act out because they don't know what else to do. It is important that parents not take this behavior personally. Instead, acknowledge the hurt and show empathy. This shows your daughter how to respond in an emotionally appropriate way, and it strengthens your position as a trustworthy authority figure.
Make Amends and Move On
Once you apologize for the behavior that broke your daughter's trust, you should pledge to regain her trust and then move on. She Knows cautions parents not to give in to feelings of guilt and to do things like buy your daughter gifts or let her do things you normally wouldn't, like stay out late or go to an unsupervised party. By acting out of guilt, you signal to your daughter that she can manipulate you to get what she wants.
Be Consistent and Persistent
Your daughter may feel hurt for some time after her trust has been broken. The key to rebuilding it is to be consistent and persistent in your efforts. Keep talking to her about what happened if she needs to talk. Otherwise, keep trying to keep the lines of communication open about other topics, such as day-to-day activities or school events. Do not give up if your efforts are rebuffed. Dr. Phil also recommends finding common ground to help you connect and to find topics of conversation. Over time, your daughter will begin to open up to you again, and her trust in you will slowly be rebuilt.
One of the best ways to rebuild trust is to do what you say you are going to do. Dr. Laura Markham says that parents can build trust by following through on what they promise, from little things like picking them up on time to bigger things like not betraying a confidence. Be honest with your teenage daughter, and don't make promises you can't keep. Every time you follow through, you show your daughter that she can believe what you tell her and that you are a reliable and consistent presence in her life.
- She Knows: How to Repair Your Relationship with Your Child
- Dr. Phil: Action Plan for Rebuilding Relationships with Your Children
- Aha! Parenting: Building a Great Relationship with Your Child
- By Parents for Parents: Rebuilding Trust Between Parents and Teens An Interview with PJ Swan, Director of Family Services at SageWalk - The Wilderness School
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