As a parent of two teenagers, I know firsthand the struggle of dealing with unexpected situations. Sometimes, I need to take a moment to reflect on my own teenage years and consider how I would have reacted if faced with a similar situation.
We all want our children to trust us completely, but in our ignorance, we may believe this is already the case simply because we provide a comfortable environment for them to speak their minds.
However, what if, despite our best efforts, we discover something alarming about our child’s behavior, such as finding a vape in their school bag or learning they asked someone for money?
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It’s easy to feel upset and shaken by such news. But how should we react? Will scolding our child be effective? Or might it lead to them hiding their behavior from us and potentially developing worse habits?
As parents, we must understand that our children’s self-esteem and self-respect are fragile at this age. Harsh scolding sessions can build resentment and grudges that may manifest later on.
Instead, we should strive to gain our children’s trust by maintaining their secrecy while also guiding them towards responsible behavior.
When faced with such a situation, I always make sure to communicate with my husband and discuss the matter together. To maintain trust, it’s important for the parent who has a closer relationship with the child to handle the situation discreetly.
They should approach the discussion with a calm and controlled tone, avoiding any actions or language that might make the child feel dismissed or disrespected. By speaking firmly but respectfully, the child will understand the gravity of the situation and the potential consequences of their actions.
By creating a private space where we can speak candidly with our child, we become their best friend and earn their trust, which acts as a key to handle sensitive situations in the future.
One of the most crucial aspects of earning our teenagers’ trust is active listening. It’s not just about hearing them speak, but truly understanding their thoughts, feelings, and concerns without any hint of judgment.
It’s about putting aside distractions and giving them our full attention, making eye contact to show that we value their opinions and perspectives. This is a crucial time in their lives when they are on the brink of independence and may soon no longer need us to listen to them.
That’s why it’s important to create a special bond through active conversation, where we as parents need to become active listeners. By doing so, we can build a foundation of trust and support that will last a lifetime.
Keeping our promises is also a crucial aspect of building trust with our teenagers. It shows them that we are reliable and dependable. Imagine the disappointment and hurt they would feel if we made a promise, only to forget about it the next day.
Last but not least, please be consistent. Encourage them to share their daily experiences with you, and make it a habit to actively listen to them. By being consistent, you are showing your child that they are valued and loved, and that you are invested in their happiness and well-being.
Remember, simply telling our children to trust us is not enough. It takes patience, empathy, and understanding to truly earn their trust and guide them towards responsible behavior. As parents, we must be willing to listen, communicate, and guide our children through life’s challenges with compassion and wisdom.