5 Tips to Regain Trust Between Parent and Teen

Why It Takes Two to Regain Trust

Father and Daughter talking
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Your teen at some point may do something that breaks down the trust you have in them. This could be going against what you've asked them to do, not working up to their potential at school or lying to you. When these things happen it can be difficult for a parent to let go of the hurt feelings caused by the harmful incident and begin to allow their teen to regain trust. Even so, as parents we need to try.

A Starting Strategy

Before you start, set aside anywhere from a week to a month to stick to whatever strategy you formulate to regain trust in your teen. It is important to know that it will be hard, and setting a time to stick it out is important from the outset. You may or may not share your intentions with your teen, but write down your strategy to regain trust and set clear boundaries about what it will take to rebuild the trust between yourself and your teen.

5 Steps to Regain Trust in Your Teen

  1. Talk to your teen about the incident. Let them know that you have lost your trust in your teen's ability to _________________ (tell the truth, get good grades on their own, keep curfew, etc.) Make it clear that your teen will need to take steps to regain the trust you had and be specific about your expectations.
  2. Let go of the personal hurt feelings as best you can. Teenagers really don't do things just to get at their parents. We know this mostly because we know that they don't normally want to be caught. Take a deep breath and move on. The better you are able to move away from your wounded self, the easier it will be to help your teen regain your trust.
  1. Create a series of checks and balances so that you know your teen is doing what they said they would be doing. For instance, you can check your teen's grades daily by calling the school guidance office or many schools allow access online. Tell your teen all about it. Don't be sneaky, clear communication is important here.
  1. Follow through with your checks and balances. This is hard, but trust is a two-way street. If you tell your teen you're going to do something that will help them stay on the straight and narrow, you need to do it. I know it isn't easy to add one more thing to your daily routine, I've been there. But it is worth you and your teen having a trusting relationship.
  2. Give it time. In time, with knowing that your teen has done positive things since the harmful incident, you will be able to trust your teen again.

If you use these steps, and allow time to heal the situation, you will be able to repair the breach and move forward with a stronger, more secure relationship with your teen.

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