April 22, 2011 —

Trust is an essential part of any relationship. However, trusting your teen can be difficult when he or she breaks the rules by abusing drugs, alcohol, or medicines. So what can you do to regain trust in your teen while feeling confident that he or she won’t repeat the same behavior?

Here are some tips compiled from EmpoweringParents, a site that provides parents with advice on how to raise their teens:

  • Communicate. Talk to your child about trust and why it is important. Ensure that your teen is aware of new rules and boundaries you may have put into place and why you’re unhappy with his or her behavior.
  • Explain how having your trust benefits them. Discuss how demonstrating a pattern of trustworthy behavior helps build your trust, which may allow them some added freedom.
  • Give your teen a chance to rebuild trust. Assign your teen a small task that shows you are willing to gradually trust him or her again. Explain how successful completion of that task will help build trust. Likewise, explain how not completing the task will diminish trust.
  • Acknowledge when your teen has behaved responsibly. Validate your teen when he or she is working hard to rebuild trust. Show your appreciation by verbally telling your teen what he or she is doing right, and how meeting your expectations has helped to build your trust.
  • Remember: Trust is a two-way street. If you promise to reward your teen’s good behavior then fail to follow through, trust is broken. Parents need to gain their teen’s trust in order for their teen to feel comfortable talking to them about problems and issues.

Many parents find it difficult to regain trust in their teen after poor behavior. However, seeing your teen take responsibility for his or her actions is the first step toward rebuilding trust. Setting clear and consistent expectations will teach your teen how to be a responsible and accountable young adult.

How do you build trust with your teen? Join the conversation on our Facebook Page.