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A different way to talk to teens and build trust

Teen Wise coach Sheri Gazitt joined New Day NW to talk about building a relationship with your teen. #newdaynw

We all know that teenage years are rough — for both the parent and teen.

Teens often build a wall of silence with their parents and the line, "I'm just here if you want to talk," doesn't always work.

Teen Wise coach Sheri Gazitt joined New Day NW to talk more about building trust. According to Gazitt, we can think more deeply about building trust if we take each letter as a concept to use as a framework for a different approach.


Transparency: Being a 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' parent loses trust. Your teen might not know which of your personalities they are going to get at any one time. You can build trust by maintaining a consistent temperament in parenting so your teen can trust what the conversation will be like.

Relationship: Putting your relationship with your child before your to-do list is important for fostering a relationship at any age. For older kids, parents often focus on asking about homework when engaging in conversation, rather than simply asking, "How are you doing?"

Understanding: It's important to see life from your teen's perspective. Many parents think they do this well because they were teens once. While that is true, this is a different age and a different world for teens today. To see life from a teen's perspective means asking questions, listening, and avoiding assumptions.

Shared Success: Many parents approach parenting from an 'I' perspective, as in, "I need you to do this," "I need you to do that," and "I want you to succeed." Thinking about parenting as teamwork using 'we' can help. For example, "We need to get this kitchen clean. I'm going to do this and you can do that."

Testing Assumptions/Expectations: Finally, because it's tough being a teen and it's a different world than when the parent was a teenager, less focus on expectations can really help. The expectations some parents have for their teens can seem astronomical. There is peer pressure both for both the teen and parents that result in expectations for teens to do everything and do it all well. Gazitt suggested taking a step back and asking if these expectations are realistic and if they are even necessary.

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.