Taking just an hour tea break at Louis’ place left me wondering why a 10-year-old child who has formed a habit of spending quality time with her mum, narrating every single happening in her life now suddenly turns 14 and can barely let mum into her life issues. Everything to her now seems private at every single time, even when mum attempts to engage her young vibrant teenager in a discussion; it always ends up with the phrase “I may not be able to talk about it now, mum”.  

Ignoring an already existing absence of trust between a teenager and her mum can be highly detrimental to the family relationship since trust is an important part of any relationship. Trust in a relationship goes a long way to represent your belief in someone’s good sense, ability or honesty. As your child gets older and starts becoming more independent especially at her teenage age, it can be difficult to find the balance between her need for independence and privacy, and your need to know what’s happening in order to keep her safe.

Inasmuch as teenagers try to act as though it never matters to them what you feel or think about them, the fact still remains that now that they are growing to become adult the tendency to overthink and consciously analyze your perception about them, is very high. If your teenager still finds it difficult to trust you, then there is definitely a problem with your mother-daughter relationship. 

Here are 3 interesting reasons why teenagers have trust issues with parents:

  1. You Never Cease to Criticize Them Excessively: I think we all know the evils of fault-finding, but in parenting, criticism (to some degree) is a necessary evil. Parent to child is one of the very few relationships where you do need to offer correction. It’s our job to teach teenagers to look good and decent, stay out of wrong companies, pick up healthy relationship habits, do their homework, etc but this does not exempt parents from ensuring that criticisms are given kindly and sparingly. No one can handle a barrage of disapproval; especially teenagers. Also remember that these teens are criticized all day by teachers and peers; home should be a haven of acceptance and love for them.  On the flip side, it is not wrong to criticize your teenager when she is on a negative path but learn to do this using constructive criticism if not it might breed in the teenager a lack of trust for her parent.
  2. When parent’s Behave Like Truth Breakers:   It is very common for adults to make promises to their teenagers, but not always to keep them. In addition to setting a bad example, this drives them away and damages the bond between you two, because the children feel they can no longer believe that their parents will do what they say.
  3. You Act Like the Family Legislator Rather Than Engaging in a Conversation: When you act like a parent whose job in the home is to make countless rules and at the same time watch out to always punish any one who breaks it, your teenager will likely distrust you. As much as Rules are quite vital in running an effective and highly functional home, building trust is quite different from rules. Establishing some very strict rules in a family is not entirely bad but how you handle the implementation and execution of such rules is what matters most. If your teenager has broken one of the house rules your ability to listen, be ready to discuss without judging and sometimes make allowance for them getting it wrong goes a long way to teach the teen to trust you even when he makes other mistakes. 

As part of the process of maturing, adolescents begin to feel more autonomous and responsible for themselves, and may go to the extreme of considering themselves self-sufficient, no longer feeling the need to share information with their parents, ask for certain permissions and approval rather, they want to make decisions for themselves without consulting. As much as the life of teenager takes this new turn, mothers must be willing to do all within their power to ensure a cordial relationship between teenager and herself. They must try their best to cultivate and sustain trust between themselves and their teenage children.

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