Parent-child relationships are vital to a teenager’s growth and maturity. However, this relationship can become problematic when a teen is rebellious or a parent lacks patience. Building a healthy attachment with your teenager is key to bettering your relationship and communication skills. Not only will building this bond with your daughter strengthen your connection, but it will also improve her ability to mature and succeed.
The Importance of Having a Healthy Attachment With Your Teenager
You want your child to trust you. Trusting her in return doesn’t just offer you a sigh of relief, it improves so much of her self-esteem and personal growth. The relationship you build with your daughter in her teenage years will impact her whole life.
Teenagers often seek independence from you, so don’t fight it. Having faith in your teen’s abilities and working together to find balance is a huge aspect of encouraging her growth and your connection. Yes, with more freedom comes more risk. When you give her independence, she may make poor choices or get into trouble. Trusting your teenager to make the right choices and come to you for help when things go wrong builds her up.
If she knows you believe in her ability to do the right thing, she is more likely to live up to that belief. The attachment you create with your teenage daughter defines what she sees in herself from her abilities to her confidence, and beyond. Attachment theory suggests that the closer a child is to their caregiver, the more likely they are to feel safe and protected, and therefore more likely to thrive in adulthood.
If you don’t trust her not to fail, she won’t have that faith in herself. Parental attachment majorly informs who young adults become, so making that bond positive and beneficial will give them tools to succeed.
Your teenager may want more freedom than you’re willing to give, but she still needs you for comfort, support, and guidance, whether she wants to admit it or not. As a parent, it is not your job to control your daughter but to raise her. She doesn’t need your control; she needs your support and guidance. By building a trusting relationship that works both ways, your teenager constructs a sense of self-control and values.
Building Communication With Your Teenager
Trust does not form out of thin air. You may think you know your daughter better than anyone, but you still need open communication to build trust. Be involved in her life and stay engaged to reduce risky behaviors.
Staying involved may seem counterintuitive when building trust, but it takes time. You will create a balance and stay in contact to trust each other. To build trust, be clear about your expectations for your teenager and let her meet those expectations. As she earns your trust, you can offer her more independence.
The same goes the other way. Your teen also needs to be able to trust you. If you promise your daughter that she has a specific curfew and it is okay if she is late as long as she calls, but then you go back on that, it breaks the trust. She will be more likely to act out and not rely on you for help and support when she needs it.
Meeting halfway, deciding on rules and expectations together, staying in touch, and adding more trust and independence as you grow your relationship is critical.
Building Back Lost Trust
Trust can be lost both ways. If you tell your daughter that she can go out if she finishes her homework and then you don’t let her, that trust is broken. If she promises to do her homework before going out, but she doesn’t, that trust is broken.
Both of these instances create an issue moving forward. Does this one instance undo all the progress that has been made and the trust that was built? Teenagers lie to their parents — it is almost a rite of passage — but that doesn’t mean they are untrustworthy. Most teens lie to feel independent from their parents. They want to make their own choices without parental involvement.
When you respond to dishonesty with anger, it can create tension. Instead, responding with honesty, disappointment, and clarity rebuilds trust. Let her know that their honesty is what builds trust and gives her the independence she craves. Making it clear that her lie has stepped her back and that she now has an earlier curfew or stricter rules reminds her that honesty is best.
You need to respect your teenager’s growth and abilities, but there need to be open discussions on the limits to those choices and when you should be involved.
Your teen can also lose trust in you. Say she catches you snooping in her room. That violates her privacy, tells her you don’t trust her, and breaks her trust in you. This can push her away and lead her to distance herself from your relationship. Rebuilding broken trust is about going back to the basics. Re-evaluate expectations on both sides and build trust back up.
Havenwood Academy is a residential treatment center for teen girls with trauma, attachment, and mental health issues. Although our focus is on caring for the girls in our program, we include the family and parents in every step of the process. By having parents participate in family therapy, we motivate both teenagers and parents to build their bond. We know how important family is to an adolescent’s growth and progress, so we prioritize building trust during our treatment. The girls in our care will not only learn how to manage their emotions and behaviors but also have guided therapy to improve their relationships and become successful adults. Trust is a crucial aspect of a teenager’s well-being. Here at Havenwood Academy, we help teens and their families build that trust. If you want to rebuild your connection with your teenager, call us at (435) 586-2500 today.
Think Havenwood Might Be For You?
We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.