Thanks go to our latest guest expert, Lisa Chuma. We love this insightful piece on 5 ways mums can build trust with their teens.
Lisa is a teenication coach. She helps mums teenicate – communicate and connect with their teens. She believes communication is the cornerstone of an enriching mother-teen relationship and that connected teens become healthy adults. Even though teens act and behave tough, they still need their parents. This is why connecting and communicating with our teens must be a priority, not an afterthought.
Lisa is a proud mother of 3. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, she moved to the UK as a teenager and spent 11 years there before moving to Switzerland 10 years ago.
As a mother I have come to understand that I cannot develop a true connection with my teens without trust. My teens are no longer small, dependent children. They still need my support and guidance and I want to be their go-to person. However, trust with teens is a fragile thing. The turbulent thoughts and emotions that come with adolescence can make earning and keeping a teenager’s trust difficult. My goal as a mother is for my kids to trust that I am there for them – through anything – and that I want the best for them.
In order to build trust with their teens, there are five actions that I believe are critical for mothers to practise:
Be a woman of your word
The fastest way for a teen not to trust you is to break a promise. Keep your word and follow through on what you tell your teen you will do. This applies to mundane daily activities and to more significant promises in your relationship with your teen. Make reasonable promises that are within your ability to keep and avoid setting up your child for disappointment. Be reliable.
Be honest and transparent
We are often tempted to tell a little white lie, or to avoid being open with our teens to avoid conflict or embarrassment. Honesty and transparency help our teens to match verbal and nonverbal communication, which creates a sense of stability. It models the kind of communication that you want them to practise, where openness and honesty are core values. It also demonstrates that perfection is not required and sharing their honest feelings is a safe thing to do.
Don’t punish them for opening up to you
Opening up is difficult for teens, especially if they feel they will be met with judgement. When your teen opens up, lead with empathy and compassion and provide the support they need. This does not mean an absence of consequences, but they will know that they will always be met with love and understanding first, not anger and harsh words.
Treat them like a teenager, not a child
Teens need the autonomy and space to start making their own decisions. Let them know that health, safety, and moral issues are choices to be made primarily by parents – with their input as they get older – but give them space to make some personal choices and to develop their preferences. These allowances show your teenager that you see them as their own person, but within the safety of your care, until they are an adult.
Show your teen that you trust them
Find opportunities to show your teen that you have faith in their choices. Verbally express your belief in their abilities and show respect for their feelings and opinions. This establishes the fact that trust is a reciprocal thing that you both contribute to maintaining.
The road to deep connection with our teens can be bumpy, but trust is the key to unlocking rich and healthy relationships with our teenagers.
Many thanks to Lisa for these 5 ways mums can build trust with their teens. We know they’ll be very helpful. If you’d like to find out more about Lisa and her coaching business, you can find her on Instagram here.