Parenting Your Teenager: The Trust
do we decide what our teens should be able to do? How do they earn
trust and responsibility?
questions. One way is to determine how much trust the teen-ager has
To use a banking metaphor, if the teen-ager
has made enough deposits in the ``trust bank,'' then he or she has
earned the privilege of making a few withdrawals - that is, the teen
has earned more responsibility and freedom.
way is what I call the ``enough rope to grow yourself'' approach.
Teen-agers need room to grow, so that they and their parents can learn
what they can handle.
Parents can follow this
approach up by using what I call the six criteria for managing
1) The parents are clearly in charge.
Teens, over time, learn and earn the ability to be more and more in
charge of themselves.
3) There is a clear plan for
continually building trust and responsibility.
parents have a way to monitor the progress of teens.
There are clear consequences when a teen demonstrates that he or she
cannot be in charge of him or herself (just like in the real world).
There is a plan for how to earn back trust and responsibility.
this method, parents don't let the teen move from little
or no responsibility to complete freedom and
Let's say, for example, the teen
wants to go to the movies just with friends, with no adults, for the
This can be structured so the teen leaves
home right before the movie and come home right after, at least the
If teens demonstrate they can handle that
much trust and responsibility, then they get to go again, perhaps for a
little longer next time.
But if they demonstrate they
cannot handle this much freedom, then the parents pull back a bit. A
teen would then have to earn back some trust by making a few more
deposits in the trust bank.
By using these criteria
for managing teen-agers, parents are able to make decisions based on
trust and objectivity.
And that method's a whole lot
better than going along with ``everyone else gets to do it. Why can't
for tips and tools for thriving during the teen years. You can also
subscribe to our f*r*e*e 5 day e-program on The
Top 5 Things to Never Say to Your Teenager, from
coach and expert Jeff Herring .
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