Rebuilding Trust in a Relationship with Your Parents

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Rebuilding Trust in a Relationship: Parents upset at teen daughter

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The trust between you and your parents is sacred. Being honest with them is an unspoken oath you vow to them as you grow from childhood to adulthood. But you make mistakes and may tell them white lies here and there. You may not realize, however, that each lie diminishes the level of trust until it’s non-existent. Being able to do small things like hang out with friends or join clubs may no longer be an option because your parents don’t trust your intentions anymore. But, you can start building trust in a relationship again with your parents.

How do you start rebuilding trust in a relationship with your parents when it’s gone?

First, accept that the trust you and your parents once had is gone. It’s possible to regain their trust, of course, but having the exact same trust as before is not a realistic expectation without work. When taking an attempt at rebuilding trust in a relationship, you have to look forward and seek ways to grow from your past mistakes as a family. Recognize what you did or are doing is wrong and that it shouldn’t continue to happen.

Rebuilding trust in a relationship between your parents requires that you take responsibility for your actions. After you recognize what you did was wrong, you must apologize for those mistakes. Show your parents that you’re remorseful for your actions and are prepared to take the consequences for them. This shows you’re also prepared to take proper precautions to prevent the same mistakes from happening again. Let your parents in on your action plan for making amends. This demonstrates that you’re growing from your faults and are ready to take the plunge into repairing a level of trust.

Don’t be wary of doing check-ins with your parents. If you’re allowed to hang out with friends or be involved with school activities, send texts to your parents with your shared location. Keep them posted on the progress of the activity and remind them who’s there or if someone different shows up. Taking these steps will show them that you’re being honest.

You can also show your parents you’re being proactive on gaining their trust back by calling the shots on who is or is not good for you. This means if you know Carly isn’t a good influence and will be at Hannah’s house Saturday, make the executive decision to hand out with Elice at her place instead. When you make decisions like these and vocalize them to your parents, they’ll see that you’re taking initiative to evade going down the same negative path.

However, if you can’t hang out with friends nor become involved with school, then take the proper steps to potentially make that happen again. Designate someone you can count on to hold you accountable for your actions, if they’re willing. Consider a friend’s parent who can call and talk to your parents so that they’re informed of your plans for the evening. Or simply have friends over to your house so your parents are present. As for being involved with after-school activities, have your coach or instructor shoot your parents an email or text specifying when you arrived and left or have them sign off on a note from your parents. It may feel like prison, but you’re simply taking steps in the right direction to rebuilding trust in a relationship with your parents.

A C T

1) Apologize and acknowledge any wrongdoing (deceit, poor choices, lies) Come clean! Confess.

2) Consequences: Take ownership / full responsibility for your actions. Accept the consequences - whatever that may entail (phone being taken away, being grounded, paying for anything that was damaged, serving others, community service if need be). Humble yourself and do the time.

3) Tell God and your parents that this will not happen again and put in place a system (checks & balances) to prevent future situations (your parents may have some good ideas to help you with this). Repent, which is a God-honoring action that will set you back on the right path.

When trust has been broken because of a major fault, larger steps are necessary to make amends.

If you’re really looking to mend the trust and relationship with your parents, then seek a third party. You should pursue your guidance counselor, youth pastor or anyone you trust to wholeheartedly do right by you and your parent’s side. Counseling and accountability is imperative in repairing the lost trust. You need to learn to re-establish open communication, face the consequences of the issue and develop a system of accountability to help build a positive and healthy relationship with your parents again. Seeking out external help to mend the relationship shows your parents that you truly want things to improve. Plus, it’ll give you and your parents a fresh set of eyes on the situation, and different ideas on what to do to improve the trust. However, you should only use this if you’re in dire need, not because you failed to do all your chores!

In addition to apologizing to your parents and God after a large offense, utilize the expertise of organizations, programs and services that specialize in your particular downfall.

  • For example, if you find yourself staring into a future as a teen mom, then you and your family need to connect with organizations based on helping young mothers continue education while raising a child, support you in developing proper infant care, help you find future employment so you can provide the basic necessities for your child and evaluate childcare options. Or, you may need to look into a Christ-centered place that can help you decide whether adoption may be the proper direction for yourself and your family.
  • If you’ve hit rock bottom with drug abuse, then work with your parents to find a rehab program that helps you to set up an accountability system so you can avoid some of the circumstances that lead to the addictive behavior.
  • If you’re in trouble with the law, such as being caught stealing, then you need to take the consequences, which may include enrollment in a juvenile program, returning the stolen item(s) (or repaying for the cost of the item), completing required community service, paying for any damages that were accrued during your actions, receiving necessary counseling for issues that may have led to the behavior and taking the proper steps to find a different group of friends who may have encouraged your conduct.

Amending what’s been lost will not be easy. It may take months or years to rebuild the relationship to a similar standard. You have to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary for your parents to have faith in you again. Even if your parents have not committed their life to Christ, do your best to be honest with them, apologize and regain their trust. This is a God-honoring action and a good first step to positive change. Above all else, you also need to pray to God for help. Don’t give up on restoring the trust between you and your family (it will be worth it!).


Supportive Scripture

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

James 3:2
Confessing Sins

Thoroughly wash me, inside and out, of all my crooked deeds. Cleanse me from my sins.

Psalm 51: 2-4

Whoever tries to hide his sins will not succeed, but the one who confesses his sins and leaves them behind will find mercy. Happy is the one who always fears the Lord, but the person who hardens his heart to God falls into misfortune.

Proverbs 28: 13-14

If we make it our habit to confess our sins, in His faithful righteousness He forgives us for those sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have never sinned, we make Him a liar and His word has no place in us. My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you might not sin. Yet if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus, the Messiah, one who is righteous.

1 John 1: 9-2: 1
Cast your worries on the Lord

So be humble under God’s powerful hand. Then He will lift you up when the right time comes. Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5: 6-7

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Philippians 4: 6-7
No Condemnation in Christ

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8: 1-4
God’s Love

But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Look down and have mercy on me. Give Your strength to Your servant; save me, the son of Your servant.

Psalm 86: 15-16

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

Psalm 103: 8-11

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.

Lamentations 3: 22-25
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