Trust, love and respect have one thing in common, they are all reciprocal. You cannot expect to earn someone else’s trust if you are not trustworthy.
This is especially so with our children especially teenagers and young adults.
As children get older, the job of parents generally become more complex and sensitive. Striking a balance between love for our children and their need for independence becomes a challenge.
Parents usually are as unprepared as the teenagers and may even be more scared and uncertain about things. Without a mutual trust, it becomes even harder for parents and teenagers to get along.
Let me quickly say that it doesn’t come naturally for some parents to trust their children. Out of fear and their own insecurities, they tend to freak out and give teenagers less credit than they may deserve. And so they end up not trusting the parents. They keep to themselves, confide in their equally immature friends and tell little lies just to make parents happy; recipe for disaster. So, what can we do as parents to make our older children trust us enough to confide in us ?
Here are 3 things you can do in order to earn the trust of your older child.
- Treat her with respect.
- Give her responsibilities and show her that you trust her to do a good job, don’t hover
- Follow through your promises and stand firm in enforcing set boundaries.
- Ask her opinions about certain family decisions and allow her freedom to make her own decisions when appropriate.
- Guide her, make suggestions but let her make her own decisions about certain things like her friends or a career choice.
- Openly admit it when you are wrong and don’t find it difficult to say “I’m sorry”.
- Communicate openly.
- Make out time to talk with her.
- Talk about things that can improve trust like; finishing chores, being honest, respecting the curfew etc.
- Be sincere in answering her questions. Be honest when you don’t have an answer to her questions.
- Learn to listen to both verbal and non verbal communication.
- Discuss the meaning of trust and reasons why it’s important in any relationship.
- Avoid shutting her down. Never use being busy as an excuse to avoid talking things over.
- Give positive reinforcements.
- Acknowledge her efforts at doing the right thing and give sincere commendations.
- A simple “thank you”, a pat on the back or a hug when appropriate tells her that you approve and encourages her to do more.
- Give her more privileges, more freedom and allow her to enjoy the satisfaction of getting something done.
- When there is need for correction or discipline, always remember to do so with love and affection.
I’m sure you have other things to add. So, go on and share your opinions. What else can a parent do in order to earn the respect of her older child.
Waiting to hear from you.