Sometimes your teen might mess up—really mess up. They might lie to you, break a major rule, crash your car or get into trouble. How do you move past that? How do you rebuild trust in your relationship with them? Here are some ideas.
1. Try Not to Take it Personally
It’s easy to make an initial assumption that your teen did this on purpose to hurt or spite you. More often than not, that’s not the case. Try to not take their actions personally and instead, gain understanding by asking what their motivation was. Remember that the more hostile your immediate response is, the more difficult your teen will find it to be honest with you.
2. Let Go of Your Fear of Future Mistakes
It’s hard to not imagine the worst—that your teen will repeat their offence. And, since they are growing and learning to test boundaries and limits, they might. But as a parent it’s important to find a way to give them the benefit of the doubt and to let go of the fear that they might disappoint you again. Let your teen feel empowered to believe that they can change.
3. Be Honest
Be honest with your teen about how you’ve been hurt and why your trust has been broken. Explain to them the impact of their actions and why this matters. This doesn’t need to be a long-winded guilt trip, but it’s important for your teen to understand that their actions affect more than just themselves.
4. Establish Realistic Consequences and Tangible Goals
If your teen has really messed up, it’s important to set reasonable consequences for their actions. Try to make the consequence fit the action and explain why you have chosen it. In addition, work with them to set tangible goals for rebuilding your trust. Help them to understand what they can do to repair any wrongs they may have caused in your relationship and find ways to move forward together.
Featured image anton petukhov