Building Trust in Kids & Adolescents

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

There is no handbook to being a successful parent. Mistakes are bound to happen, but establishing trust with your child can help you continue to have a strong bond even after mistakes are made.

Trust is a crucial part of parenting—and can start as early as infancy. Being trusting isn’t just a measure of whether or not you, as their caretaker, are listening to your child. Playtime, establishing privacy, and skill development are all moments that can help instill trust between you and your kids.

Audience Questions

Holly S. Peek, MD, MPH, leads a discussion on how to build trust in children and adolescents, provides insight into privacy and boundaries to set with your loved ones, and answers audience questions about ways to actively strengthen your bonds with your kids.

  • What are some of the benefits of having established trust between you and your kids, regardless of their age?
  • What are some of the mental health benefits of having a trustworthy relationship with your children?
  • How can we ensure that our relationships with our kids remain trustworthy?
  • Do you have advice for what we should do when a child breaks our trust?
  • Does your advice for when a teen breaks our trust differ from a child? What should we do?
  • Is it possible to reestablish trust if a teen has begun to engage in unsafe behaviors?
  • What are some tips for “laying down the law” while also communicating that we still love our kids?
  • As our kids get older and have more autonomy over their meals, mealtimes, etc., how can we trust that they’re making the right nutritional decisions for their bodies? What about medical needs in general?
  • How do we adjust our expectations regarding children with developmental disabilities or mental health challenges?
  • What are some ways we can check up on our kids without being intrusive or being a helicopter parent?
  • Any tips on helping build trust in families where open communication is not the norm?
  • What are good ways to establish trust with a child entering the home through adoption or foster living?
  • Do you have advice about how to respond when teens do not care about consequences?
  • Do you have any advice for toeing the line between being “friends” with our older kids—e.g., college-age students who are drinking, becoming more independent—and maintaining parental guidelines?
  • Do these same principles apply if we’re a caretaker, but not their parent? How do you suggest we approach conversations with them around trust?

Resources

You may also find this information useful:

About Dr. Holly Peek

Holly S. Peek, MD, MPH, is an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the assistant medical director for the Klarman Eating Disorders Center at McLean Hospital.

Dr. Peek is board certified in both adult and child and adolescent psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She also has a private practice specializing in child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy and medication evaluation and management.

Learn more about Dr. Peek.

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