Q. My mom is always on my case and doesn't trust me at all. I am 16 and deserve a little independence. What can I do?
“Love is a battlefield,” drones a popular Top 40 song. That can be especially true in relationships between parents and their children. No relationship is perfect, but below are a few things that you could do to help gain your mom’s trust.
1 — Communicate. Talk to your mother and tell her how you feel about wanting her to trust you. Keep the lines of communication open, and listen to her advice. When your mom knows you’re listening, she’ll listen to you, too.
2 — Apologize. Is there a reason your mom doesn’t trust you? If so, tell her that you are sorry, that you love her and that you miss having her trust. Then ask what you need to do to win back her trust.
3 — Be responsible. You have to earn your mom's trust. If your mom wants you to come home in 5 minutes, then be back in 4 minutes. Always let your mom know where you are and who you are with. Do your homework, get good grades, and bring your friends home. Let her see they are responsible individuals. Do what your parents ask you to do. The more you act like an adult, the more your mom will treat you like one and trust you.
When I was a senior in high school, I wanted more independence. I was getting good grades and making good choices, but my mom didn’t want me to go out with my friends on weekdays. I thought it was totally unfair and a sign that she didn’t trust me.
It wasn’t until I became an adult with my own children that I learned my mom did trust me — she was just sad that I was leaving for college soon and didn’t know how to express it. She wanted me to stay home and hang out with my brothers and sisters, since it was the last time we would all be together. We had a good laugh about it (a few years later)!
Sometimes communication breaks down. Moms are not always perfect at expressing their feelings, so consider the possibility there is another reason your mom isn’t giving you as much independence as you’d like. Then talk to her about it. Write down your thoughts beforehand so you can remember everything you want to say, and make sure to include how much you love her. That always melts a mom’s heart — my kids use it to manipulate me all the time!