Cultivate Trust With Teenagers

Esther Wojcicki, author of her new book, How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results, shared the following excerpt on LinkedIn about cultivating trust with teenagers.
With teenagers, parents can cultivate trust in a series of steps. For instance, here is how I’d build trust with shopping, one of my favorite educational activities.
Step 1: The parent does everything, selecting and buying all items needed by a child.
Step 2: You trust your child to go with you to the store, and allow them to make most of the purchasing decisions (giving kids a specific budget is a wonderful way to teach financial responsibility).
Step 3: Let your child gather needed items on their own; the two of you meet at the registers at a set time and make the final purchases together.
Step 4: Once you’ve built a foundation of trust and taught your child how to be responsible with money, you can give them your credit card and let them shop on their own (many major credit cards allow you to add a minor as an authorized user). Of course, you’ll check the charges and teach them to verify the credit card statement with you at the end of the month.
Another way to gauge your teenager’s trustworthiness is by testing whether they make good on their word. They said they’d be home by 8 PM – were they? If they were late, did they call or text to tell you in advance? After they prove themselves trustworthy, increase their freedoms and responsibilities. And if they still need to learn to come home on time, have a conversation about what went wrong and troubleshoot together for the next time. Some kids just have a hard time being on time, but don’t give up – give them more opportunities to learn. After all, time management is a skill that many adults lack, too.
If children aren’t empowered with trust and if they don’t feel trustworthy, they’ll have a very difficult time becoming independent. They won’t learn trust and respect themselves. When we are fearful and hover over our children, they become afraid too.

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