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Trust and the Adolescent

We all want to trust our adolescent to make wise decisions about their life, their choice of subjects at school, their friends and their future. We want to trust them to have a good attitude and always try to do the right thing. To find ways to get on well with their siblings, be kind to others, to have good values and live them, to be respectful to us and others, especially those who think and look different to them, be honest and truthful and share with us where they are going and let us know if they go some where else that was unplanned. We want to trust our adolescent to share with us their problems and issues as well as their ideas and dreams. And about their boyfriend or girlfriend if they have one. We want to trust them to put their best effort into their school work, do their homework, and seek to do their best in their chosen sport and music. We want to trust them to not spend too much time on their devices, send unkind or abusive txts, make friends with strangers on Facebook or Instagram etc. send them a photo and give them personal details such as address and phone number or agree to meet them in the local park or Shopping Mall. We want to trust them not to get into trouble at school, get involved in sexting, get pregnant or get a girl pregnant, catch a STD, take drugs, binge drink, get intoxicated, physically assault someone, get involved in crime, become a client of Youth Justice. Yes, definitely we want to be able to trust them and it is not always easy to do.

We all know from experience that being able to trust another person is an absolutely vital ingredient in a healthy, strong and enduring relationship. So let us again consider trust and our adolescent but this time lets look at it from the other way around.

Does our adolescent trust us with their thoughts, ideas and dreams and heart felt emotions and know we will really listen to them? Does our adolescent trust us to love them unconditionally even if they make a mistake and again and again make mistakes? Does our adolescent trust us to ask them first if they would like to hear our opinion or advice without launching into a full blown lecture? (Oh! how they hate lectures). Does our adolescent trust us not to criticize, judge or condemn their thoughts and actions but instead guide them with kindness and understanding and even forgiveness? Does our adolescent trust us to try to understand that they sometimes have mixed up emotions and to realize that it is normal for them to sometimes be reactive, want to argue about almost everything and need their own space as well as the need to sometimes have a messy bedroom and even on occasion an apple core under the bed? Yes, definitely our adolescent wants to be able to trust us and it is not always easy to do.

However, it certainly helps for us to understand that they are no more perfect than we are or ever have been and instead put lots of effort and as much time as possible to building and maintaining the heart connection between them and us.

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