Building and winning your teenage son’s trust can be time consuming, daunting and frustrating for a mom. This can be specifically so, for a single or widowed mom who don’t share the role of raising up a son with a man. Here are 5 house rules for nurturing trust in your teenage son.
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Trust is a powerful force that can win your teen’s confidence and deepen your relationship. When it is broken, it is hard to rebuild and regain. The good news is, you can always rebuild and regain your teen’s trust.
We share a feeling with someone and watch their reaction; if the response feels safe, if it is caring, noncritical, non-abusive, the first step of trust has developed. For trust to grow, this positive response must become part of a relatively reliable pattern… Trust develops with consistency over time.”
― E. Sue Blume, Secret Survivors
House Rules for Nurturing Trust
One of the most important things in parenting is developing trust in your teens. As a result, trust is one of the most important elements in developing true and meaningful relationships. It is an aspect that makes your teenage son reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
It is important to develop trust because it helps you to gather valuable knowledge that you need to meet your teen’s needs. I know many parents who do not trust their teens. They fret, worry and doubt their teen’s intentions. And when something bad happens, they
You can build trust through consistency, communication, compassion and competency. However, this is easy to say than it is to implement. Nurturing trust requires nerves of steel, personal restraints, placing your faith in your son and trusting them to do the right thing.
So, how do you develop and nurture trust? Here are 5 house rules for nurturing trust in your teenage son.
In her newest book, Nancy C. Gaughan begins each chapter with a Bible verse and ends with an application and Bible study questions you can use for further growth and study. Through this book, you will learn how God is our best role model in building relationships, especially with our children, who need to learn to trust us.
Model a trustworthy character, habits and your teen will follow suit. Ensure you model the right behavior that you would like to see in your teen.
1. Nurture trust by being trustworthy
When your teen outgrows their childhood toys and clothes, a lot changes. They start watching your every step and listening to what you don’t say when you speak. They check whether you can be reliable, dependable and trusted.
You need to ask yourself, “Am I walking the talk when demanding for trust in my teen?” If you are modelling the opposite of what you are asking for, then your goose is cooked and you need to change tact! Be the person that you desire your teen to become by walking the talk.
2. Break bread together, and make it a habit
Eating together is the easiest way you can build and nurture trust. You remember when you used to ask for something from your parents during a meal. What made it easy for you to feel comfortable, enough to open up?
That same compensation is still available for you as a parent. However, not many parent remember to tap into this. Many families no longer eat together at the dinner table, thereby missing the opportunity to grow trust and nurture trust.
The good news is, you can purpose to start tonight, if you haven’t been eating together as a family. You can start by saying things like… “I wonder what it would feel like if we started eating together tonight.”
3. Be open about your past mistakes
Once you are at the table, start setting the pace by sharing stories of the mistakes you used to make while growing up. Describing the mistakes you committed can automatically create a bond in your relationship.
This may make your teen to feel comfortable with you, enough for them to open up easily. Once they start sharing, listen without judging. This will encourage them to be more comfortable with you.
Be open about your past mistakes and set boundaries that can create a safety net for your teen. By sharing your story, you’ll help your teen to set standards for his life.
4. Set boundaries and create a safety net
Building trust is not an easy act. You may trust your teen in a certain situation and doubt them in a different one. You may also trust them but worry about their friends who may not be trustworthy. This may have two effects.
You can either trust too much and fail to provide limits and the guidance they need. Or, you can become too suspicious and overly intrusive. Doing either of these, can – not only break trust – it can cause damage and ruin your relationship.
In order to nurture trust in your teen, you need to find a healthy balance that will work for both of you. Assure your teenage son that you need to know where they are and what they are doing, not as a spy but as a caring and loving parent.
Remind them that they have not yet arrived, and that the mistakes they will make can hurt them. Assure them that it is your role and duty to make sure that nothing bad happens to them.
5. Leave the door open for them to come home, no matter what
When your teen breaks the rules you have set as a family or makes a mistake, make it easier for them to come home. Home is where we can all find a safety net, a refuge and a sanctuary. It where we are loved and accepted unconditionally.
Otherwise, they may find a safe refuge elsewhere and the broken trust may not be easy to repair.
Do not be like those parents who tell their teen, “if you make a mistake, do not come back home!” Or, if you are caught cheating in an exam in school, do not step a foot in this house!”
Do not compare your son with his ‘untrustworthy’ dad. Instead, encourage him to be more imaginative, creative and progressive.
6. Do not compare your son to his ‘untrustworthy’ dad
If your son starts behaving in an untrustworthy manner, try as much as you can not to compare him with anyone. Shun from comparing him with his untrustworthy dad, especially if you are divorced or separated with the dad.
Trust him to do well, succeed and become a better person. Wish him well in whatever he does and give him room to be imaginative and creative. Give him a role in the house and expect him to come through and deliver on his promise to do the best.
Trust is a two-way traffic! It is something that you do not demand of others without giving it. The more trustworthy you are, the more trustworthy your teenage son is likely to be. Ask yourself, can I be trusted to do the right thing without supervision? And, when I drop the ball, can I be trusted to take full responsibility?
Nurture trust by learning to listen without judging. Create room and allow your teenage son to make mistakes so they can learn from it. Take a deep breath, when you feel like saying, “I told you so!” Or, “I knew you were not going get it right, but I kept quiet!”
Trust is very easy to break and when it is broken, repeatedly, rebuilding it takes time and effort. To rebuild broken trust, make encouraging remarks when all goes well. Trust that your teenage son is not getting into trouble when he is away from home. These are some of the 5 house rules for nurturing trust.