There are many reasons why we might stop trusting someone. Perhaps they’ve lied to us or their promises have fallen through too many times. Maybe we feel they’ve abandoned us or failed to take our well-being into consideration. But what do you do when your teen struggles with trusting others? How can you help them be uninhibited? Here are a few tips.
1. Uncover and Address the Root Cause
The process of understanding the root cause of your teen’s trust issues might be difficult, especially when they feel like they can’t trust you enough to tell you. Regardless, if possible, uncover the reason why your teen is struggling to trust others so that you can work towards addressing that issue directly.
2. Avoid Pressure
Putting pressure on your teen to trust you or others can sometimes only make things worse. Instead, set small, manageable goals towards rebuilding that trust, preferably with your teen’s input. Give your teen some space to approach you or those they don’t trust on their own.
3. Be Vulnerable
If you’re hoping your teen will open up to you, it might be beneficial for you to open up to them. While some things aren’t necessarily appropriate to share with your teen, being honest with them about some of your feelings, fears and struggles can help them to feel welcome to share in the same way. Don’t expect your teen to open up if you are unwilling to do the same.
4. Encourage Healthy Relationships
Sometimes your teens might go through a phase where they don’t trust you, but they do confide in other trustworthy adults, mentors or friends. If this is the case for your teen, encourage them in these relationships. It’s more important that they have someone to confide in than nobody at all.
5. Seek Therapy
If issues persist beyond just being a phase, it might be helpful for your teen to get help from a mental health professional. If the root cause is family related, consider family therapy to work through those issues. If it’s something personal, individual therapy might benefit your teen as well. Help them discover that there are opportunities to move beyond their trust issues and build positive, healthy relationships.
Feature image Send me adrift.