Building Trust With Teens

Crushed: When Parenting is Hard, is about healing the wounds parents experience when they have had a rough spell with a teen or young adult. The book moves parents from grief to healing, regrounding and then re-building trust with teens. An adult can have the best training and education available, but if they don't have the trust of the young people, they are powerless.

Won't you help us get this information into the hands of as many hurting parents as we can?

Melissa and Chip’s 5 Tips on building trust

  1. Eye Contact

  2. Predictable responses

  3. Healthy expectations

  4. Boundaries

  5. Active listening

Eyes: Eye contact is a primal and a key piece in human development making it a key component in communication.

  • Refrain from: Not looking at teens while speaking. There’s a hidden message is being sent when someone won’t look at us. Disinterest, disapproval, hurt, embarrassment….

  • Focus on: Undivided attention. Studies have shown that eye contact is healing and builds trust. Let a young person know that they have you are invested in them without judgement. Even if you’re upset with something they have done.

  • Predictable Responses: Remain calm. Nothing shuts a teen down and puts up a wall faster than reacting instead of responding. If you notice your reaction is BIG, then it’s time to reflect on why.

Healthy Expectations: Check yourself

  • Refrain from: Expectations that are about you. Is your self-worth impacted by their actions and choices? Whose self-esteem is being boosted? Are you embarrassed their failures are yours?

  • Focus on: The teen’s personal and emotional growth. Do your expectations add value to their education, experience and path to adulthood?

Boundaries: You are the adult. Healthy boundaries are modeled.

  • Refrain from: Ridicule, sarcasm, patronizing, name calling

  • Focus on: Freedom to say yes/no, allowing them to ‘feel what they feel’, permission to express feelings, support in their personal growth process.

Active Listening: Do you listen to respond or listen to hear?

  • Refrain from: Stop phrases. Cliché statements that will shut someone down and belittle how they feel. ‘It’s all good’- maybe it’s not? Talking over. A great way to shut someone down who needs to be heard is to talk over them and insert your ‘advice’ before they are done sharing

  • Focus on: Eye contact, holding space to allow them to cry, vent, and ‘hear’ themselves. Leading questions- direct the conversation to growth instead of negative thoughts.

Check out Crushed: When Parenting is Hard- A Journey to Strength and Hope |

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