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Parenting your teenager: how to build trust - parenting


``Mom, can I go to the mall with my alone Jenny?''

``No, not after you came home late last night. ''

``Well, each one else gets to. ''

``I don't care what all and sundry else gets to do; you can't. ''

``You just don't trust me. ''

``You've got to earn it. ''

``I have. ''

``No, you haven't. ''

``Have, too. ''

``Have not. ''

SLAM! Etc.

If the above dialogue sounds familiar, you're in all probability the close relative of a teen-ager.

I exceptionally like the ``everybody else gets to do it'' line. My parents' answer was, ``If each one else stood on their heads in the average of the lane at 3 a. m. in their underwear, would you?'' I in all probability would have.

I never implicit what all that meant, but I do know that raising teen-agers can be an awfully challenging task. I have tremendous acknowledge for the parents of the teens I work with in my practice.

Now don't get me wrong. Most teen-agers are OK people. The vast adult years seem to stay out of the juvenile-justice arrangement and finally befall adults.

It's just that most of the teen-agers I've worked with are 16 going on 26 and 16 going on 6, all at the same time.

Some families seem to go by means of the teen years with a small amount or no struggle. Many others find these years one of the most challenging and, at times, annoying stages of children life.

Parents of teen-agers certainly try hard to find the way these challenging waters.

Trust or Bust

One of the areas that seems to be most challenging for them has to do with trust. Let's take a faster look at how trust operates in families with teen-agers, how it every now and then gets broken and how it can be built back.

A few families seem to go along and never have any evils with, or dent done to, the trust among parents and kids. Others can certainly struggle with this issue.

Families from time to time get stuck as the parents see trust as an either/or situation. The teen lies, breaks curfew, experiments with drugs or does a touch that's hurtful to trust. The parents feel they have lost all trust in their teen.

The problem, the sticking point, is: How do you rebuild trust from nothing? How can kids earn trust back?

The Way Back to Trust

Viewing trust as a affair of grade can help build a way back to a innocent relationship.

The first step is to think of a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least sum of trust, 10 the most. Let's say the teen has conked out clampdown by a few hours. Let's say that appearance home late reduces the trust level from a 9 down to a 3. That's a gap of 6 trust levels.

Creating a plan to get back to a high trust level will be challenging if you try to go from a 3 to a 9 all at once. It's just too big a leap.

The next step is to talk about and agree on what changes and/or behaviors need to occur to go from a 3 to a 4, then from a 4 to a 5, a 5 to a 6 and so on.

In this way, quite a few activist structures are set up: The parents have a way of monitoring their teen's develop and the teen has a bit to work toward. In addition, there's a built-in incentive for the teen.

In many families, trust is like a video game at the mall. In the video arcade, the more tokens you have, the more you can play. In much the same way, in families, the more trust you have, the more you can do.

At this stage, many parents will ask, ``How do I know effects are exceedingly different, that I'm not receiving fooled?''

That's an exceptional question, and the best fulfil I can offer is: Basically watch and see if the activities matches the words.

If it does, you're on the right track.

If the activities doesn't match the words, then you know a big shot is annoying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Leading parenting knowledgeable Jeff Herring is a teen and ancestors therapist, parenting coach, amplifier and syndicated parenting and association columnist. Jeff invites you to visit ParentingYourTeenager. com for 100's of tips and tools for parenting because of the teenage years. You can also subscribe to his free weekly internet newsletter "ParentingYourTeenager. "


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