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How to Build Trust and Honesty with Your Teenage Daughter

Updated on February 24, 2013
Friends hanging out at the park
Friends hanging out at the park | Source

Building Trust and Honesty with your Teenager

There are many life skills that we need to teach our children before they become adults and venture out on their own. One of them is trust and honesty .

It seems as though this particular lesson needs to be revisited often and will be tested as your child enters each stage of development.

When kids are little and they try telling a lie it's usually obvious and can be confronted and corrected right on the spot. You would never want to admit it to them but a lot of times they are actually quite entertaining.

The desire to bend the truth and attempt to get away with something doesn't diminish with age. The difference between a small child lying and a teenager lying is the gravity of the potential danger.

It may be irritating and insulting when your child lies to you but when your teen lies to you, they could be putting themselves in harms way.

Pushing Boundaries

It is totally normal for all kids to push boundaries as they enter each stage of life for two reasons:

  1. As their brain develops they have to see if they are actually able to out smart you yet.
  2. Each stage is a little scary because it brings new challenges and uncertainty so kids will test you to make sure you're still paying attention.

As life changes for them they need to know that your level of commitment hasn't wavered and that you will still be there to protect them, even from themselves.

They will almost certainly fight you on this overtly but secretly, they love it and need it!

Protecting Teens From Themselves

When a teen isn't being honest it is much more serious and can potentially carry life altering consequences for them.

They don't have the life experience or maturity that is necessary to predict what will happen when they put themselves in certain situations. It is our job to protect them from those situations.

The only way to assure that your teen is trustworthy is to randomly check on them. I know many parents feel the opposite is true but that's usually because their teen has used that argument in order to guilt their parent into giving them total freedom.

Don't be manipulated into going against your instincts and don't underestimate your teen or their friends.

Introduce Yourself

Get to know your daughter’s friends parents.

Talk to the parent or guardians that will be in charge while your teen is visiting. Make sure that they have similar boundaries and ideas as you do before you allow your daughter to go hang at their house.

This is a great idea for many reasons but the two most common are:

1. People have different priorities

People all have different ideas about raising kids and although your way seems logical to you, don’t assume others see things the same way. They don’t! Your daughter’s friend might have a really sweet, loving mom or grandma who doesn't see a problem with letting the girls drink wine coolers as long as they don’t leave the house. This is something your daughter isn't going tell you so you need to know before hand!

2. Make sure you know what's really going on

You should always verify the plans. When our kids are little we call the friends parents to make sure that it’s OK if they come and play because we know that little kids sometimes invite each other over without asking first. We always arranged the “play dates”. For some reason we stop doing that as they get older. I’m sure you know how smart your daughter is and that it doesn't take long for her to figure this out. It is pretty common for teenagers to say they are going to one persons house while actually going somewhere they aren't supposed to. It’s happened for generations.

One Quick Call Is All It Takes

Teens may occasionally forget to tell you that there won’t be an adult home when they ask to go to someone’s house to hang out.

It’s always a good idea to just make a quick call and make sure your daughter is actually going there and that an adult will be home.

Some parents don’t call the friends parents because they fear judgement from them. You don’t have to sound like an over protective freak, just an attentive parent.

Simply call and introduce yourself and say you want to make sure the girls will be supervised and ask what they have planned for the evening. Just say that you remember what it’s like to be a teenager and that you want to make sure that the girls aren’t going to have access to anything that would get them in trouble.
I’m positive it will be well received by the other parent! They will probably tell you how refreshing it is to have someone call because so few people do.

Don't Allow Yourself To Be Manipulated

If your daughter has a fit about you calling her friends parents, that’s a huge red flag!

She might tell you that your treating her like a baby or that you don’t trust her or that it’s embarrassing or whatever. Stop! Your being manipulated.

Her best interest and safety is more important than her good mood. Just let her know if it’s that important to her that you not call, she can stay home. Problem solved.

Reward Honesty

Let your daughter know how much you appreciate her and trust her when you learn that she is telling you the truth.

Age is just a number, responsible behavior breeds trust and freedom.

Do you know your daughters friends' families?

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    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 5 years ago from UK

      I agree it's so important to try to ensure that an adult on your wavelength will be present when your teen goes over to a friend's house. It may be embarrasing to make the call but, as you say, no responsible parent will mind that you make this approach - and if they do Big Red Flag!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Keri, your daughter is very lucky to have such a conscientious mom! Being procative instead of reactive when it comes to parenting is a huge asset for both of you. I have no doubt that she will do great in her teen years :)

    • brittvan22 profile image

      brittvan22 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      @Keriproctor, I relate, my daughter is 4, however, being Mom to my baby sister, its not as bad as I thought, day 1. I think you become more relaxed as you settle into the role, now we on to driving she just got a permit 3 weeks ago. I'm sure you'll be a great Mom to your up and coming teen.

    • KeriProctor88 profile image

      KeriProctor88 5 years ago from Georgia

      I’m terrified for when my daughter becomes a teenager, she’s only two years old right now. I’m the type of person who thinks about everything and this is some great information. Hopefully I can teach her by example of how to act, and how to become a woman one day. I’m still trying to figure out to put her in public school, private, or home school her. This world is not how it used to be, and you cannot trust anyone now days.

    • brittvan22 profile image

      brittvan22 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks for the tips, I will bear this in mind as I deal with my newly teenage sister/daughter. Voting up!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you ripplemaker, it's the toughest and most amazing job ever!!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Raising teenagers can be tricky (grins) but with a lot of understanding and love and positive discipline, it can go a long way. Thanks for this helpful hub. :)

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Mekenzie, It is so wonderful that you provided that for those kids! They want boundaries and they totally respect the fact that your guiding them lovingly. Many people feel like they must concede to their teens otherwise they will lose them and nothing could be further from the truth. I have no doubt that you made a Huge difference in those kids lives and that they are better people because of you! Thank you!

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 5 years ago from Michigan

      You understand what it means to be a parent roxanne. You are exactly on target when you talk about manipulation and pushing the boundaries. All teens do it.

      My youngest daughter hung out with a large group from Church. Our house was the place they loved to come to just hang out. I was always happy to have them at our house and would rather they be at my house than anywhere else. My kids friend's always called me mom and I did not hesitate to turn of the t.v. if something was inappropriate or stop a conversation by lovingly saying .. uh excuse me .. what was that??? The kid would smile and change their verbiage.

      We went through some tough years with a couple of our kids but our relationship stayed in tact .. even though I was tough and expected them to check in and be responsible.

      Great Hub! Voted up and useful.

      Mekenzie

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Your daughter is so lucky to have a mom that takes the time to show her how important she is. I hope you inspire many others!

    • sassydee profile image

      Delilah 5 years ago from los angeles, ca

      this is a good one too and the friends that i let my daughter go over to their houses are the ones that i of course have taken the time to know who is in the home and what they are about! if i don't know them then she can't go with them! voted up