When should you trust your teens?
My Dad was driving somewhere, he passed a parking lot, and as he glanced towards a screeching sound, he saw his car spinning donuts in the parking lot, my brother in the driver's seat when he should have been in school.
You can just imagine how that went down at home. My brother losing the keys was part of the punishment. He complained, "Why does Ali get to drive now and not me? Why can she go out on a school night?" We had very different rules even though he was a year older. I had earned more privilege; my parents trusted me, and he had lost their trust.
In every Workshop, I do the subject of trust is addressed as parents claim, "We need to trust our kids." Teens will argue, "Our parents need to trust us, or it will ruin our relationship." The second is my favorite. It is like a threat and a call for friendship all wrapped up in one beautiful package.
I don't know how my parent's managed all eleven of us, I look back and think "WOW!" I know one thing for sure..they did not just trust us because we were their children. Who came up with that thought? Why would you automatically trust a fourteen-year-old? Do you remember being fourteen? Do you remember being a teen? Think back...
Trust needs to be earned. I sadly cannot give you an age of when you should trust. There might be lapses in trust as your child goes through different stages, makes different friends and grows. Don't get caught in the trap of thinking you 'have to' trust your child. I understand you want to, but it is not a given rite. All you need to do is love them unconditionally, let them hear and feel that love and oh yes, please parent them because they need that too!
—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife