Creating an environment for you and your tween to feel confident in, opens doors for communication. We’ve been discussing what happens when our tweens begin growing and maturing and the outcomes are endless!
While we can’t change the past, parents can adopt certain environmental techniques to lead and guide their children in the right direction. Conversations about sex, protection, STD’s and dating are never the first thing on a parent’s or tween’s mind, but how can you create a space and a relationship that makes these serious conversations take place with little to no reservation?
So, you want your tween to trust you, right? The only thing is you have no idea how to start paving the way for that to happen.
Well, I think it is safe to say that trusting parents, were once trusting children themselves and building the bridge between you and your tween’s relationship is something similar.
The concept of trust is very complicated and often misinterpreted, however with your actions and words, your behavior can be one of the most important things your tween is observing. In order to harvest the development of positive core beliefs that instill trust, there are a few things you can do.
Hearing is one thing. Listening is a completely different ball game. Yes you are the parent and you will always have the upper hand. Every child knows that, or at least they should.
However, in the midst of your parenting, being so caught up in authority and “who is boss” is one way to push your tween further away. So, how do you show your child that you are listening to them without stepping off your throne of parenting?
Something as simple as nodding when talks are being had and even paraphrasing the words back to them when that they speak, can help them feel sure that while you are the authoritative figure, you are also listening and you understand their point of view.
Tweens may not have as many years of experience at life like parents and grandparents do, but they are definitely not stupid. The same way you get a funny feeling when you feel you’re not being told the whole truth, tweens and teens have the same gut feeling. If telling them the truth is such a hard thing, at least explain to them the circumstances of going to into detail of whatever it is you don’t want to fully say. Explaining things help keep confusion down and while you may not have told them everything, you have at least gained their trust by explaining and not leaving them in the dark to make their own story up.
#3 Stay Consistent
Being reliable falls at the top of the pyramid for me. A parent that never comes through and is inconsistent with his/her words, actions and teachings causes uncertainty in a child’s brain. This could easily turn into your child never wanting to confide in you if they can never paint you as a reliable and consistent person. Developing a negative mindset towards a parent can result in heavy reservation within your child’s communication.
#4. Be open
Last but not least, my personal favorite, is to always be open. While boundaries are important, having too many restrictions and not allowing inside access to your child can be detrimental to the health of your parent-child relationship.
Being open about your short-comings, mistakes, struggles, and fears show your children that for one, you are human and are not perfect and never expect them to be. Secondly, it teaches them that they can also be open with you as well. Here’s a question: How likely do you think a teen girl/boy will open up about a crush, if she doesn’t feel comfortable that the same openness is being reciprocated to him/her?
Think “You scratch my back. I scratch yours.” This is the type of relationship parents and their growing tween can mirror. As long as they feel they can trust and be trusted, these not-so-easy conversations can be had with no problem. The older they get, they will confide in you in many things they will experience in life and what better teacher to have than the one who has already “Been there, Done that?”
Tweens, Teens & Young Adults