“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen Covey
As the mother of a teenaged girl, you already know you are in for the ride of your life! Right? Well, if you consider all the relationships you already juggle with family, friends, and co-workers, there is a fair amount of negotiation, compassion, and patience that goes into maintaining them.
This is true for your daughter! In fact, at her age, she is exploring who she is and discovering her personal value. There is SAFETY in your offer of trust even when she is not being the wonderful child you know you raised. Those days of accepting everything you say without question are over!!! Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “But she’s the child and I’m the adult. What I say goes!” How’s that working for you?
Teenagers are full of questions. I’m sure you can remember when your mind couldn’t stop racing because of all the things you wondered about. They are developing into young adults that observe everything and everyone around them, most importantly YOU. Your actions are far more important to them now. They are quietly learning how to react and deal with their emotions by watching the way you deal with yours. So, if you’re worried that I’m going to tell you to release your control and give her the freedom to do as she pleases, don’t worry. That is not my goal. I simply want to help you build trust and the secret to building her trust is in your negotiation, your compassion and your patience.
When a negotiation takes place usually both sides are heard. There is a certain amount of respect given to the party while they plead their case. I encourage you to be clear with your daughter about your expectations, but listen to her perspective. You don’t even have to agree, but your demonstration of your will to listen will go a LONG way! There may even be a few points in there that sound like ideas you may consider at a later time. The important thing is to listen.
After you’ve listened and remained calm by breathing deeply (just as you would if you were on the job talking to co-workers or your boss), reiterate your expectations and let her know you heard her and you appreciate her concerns. Then, explain why your expectations are important to you. How will your expectations benefit her now and in the future? Allow her to explain her understanding of your expectations and reward her for her effort when she complies. You have to be consistent as well. Remember, she’s watching you more often than she listens to you. If you make a promise to her, keep it. Reward her with things you know she’d appreciate.
The process of trust will begin, but you can’t be afraid of the roller coaster ride. Your relationship will have its high points and its low ones. But if you are consistent with your reaction and demonstrate you ability to show control over your emotions so that you can talk things out, she will relax and feel safe again.
Remember, there is safety in your trust and she wants to trust you. She may not like you at the moment and you may not like her, but you love her and your job is to protect her first, and befriend her when she’s much older. For now, practice developing trust.
You’ll both be happier for it!!
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