How I Lost (and Regained) My Parents’ Trust

Have you lost your parents’ trust? It’s a crummy place to be, I know. I lost my parents’ trust my eighth grade year, and it felt like it took eons to regain it.

That summer, my family moved to a different state, and soon I started attending a new school. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of options when it came to choosing wise friends (there were only fourteen students in my whole grade!). It wasn’t long before my new friends were encouraging me to date a guy I liked behind my parents’ backs. I was all too happy to listen to them. Life was going well until . . .

One horrible, rotten day, a letter was delivered to our home (yep, that was before Facebook!). A friend from my old school had written me. But instead of addressing the envelope to “Paula Hendricks,” she wrote my nickname on the front. When my parents saw the letter, they didn’t know who it was for. So they opened it. And this is what they saw: “I can’t believe you’re dating Neil behind your parents’ backs!” (Busted!)

That was probably the first seed of distrust that was (rightfully) planted in my parents’ hearts. And then guess what they went and did? They prayed that God would help them find out whenever I was covering up my sin. He seemed to answer their prayer time and time again. It wasn’t long before they knew I couldn’t be trusted.

As much as I hated my parents at the time for reading my mail and being so strict, looking back I have to say that they were right to not trust me. I was a deceiver. I lied. A lot.

Have You Lost Your Parents’ Trust, Too?

I wonder if you can relate. Have you given your parents (or others) any valid reason not to trust you? Are you one person around them and a different person entirely when you think they’re not looking?

Are you always wondering if you’ll be found out? And then when you are, do you know the feeling of having the people closest to you not know if anything you say is true? We both know that’s not a fun way to live. So what can you do?

How To Get Your Parents’ Trust Back

If you’re one of those girls who has been walking on eggshells around a couple of suspicious parents, here’s how you can regain their trust.

1. Be honest with your parents.

If you have genuinely repented of your sin, then you will want to bring all your sin out of the dark corners where you’ve been trying to hide it and into the light. Have you been completely honest with your parents? Trust me . . . as hard as it will be for you to tell them the whole truth, it will be so much harder if they find out from anyone other than you.

Once your sin is out in the open and exposed, ask your parents what it will take to regain their trust.

Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

Once your sin is out in the open and exposed, ask your parents what it will take to regain their trust. Be willing to work with them. Set up a plan with them, and go out of your way to let them know where you are and what you’re doing.

2. Commit to telling the truth.

Be intentional about confessing your sin each time you lie. Years ago, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth (co-author of Lies Young Women Believe) made a commitment. She determined to tell the truth in every situation, and if she failed to do so, to go back to the person and make it right.

I adopted her practice years ago and started confessing my sin to people I lied to—no matter how “small” the lie. I’d say something like, “Will you forgive me? I didn’t tell the truth when I said . . .” It was horribly embarrassing to do it, but it worked! It helped me put a stop to those “harmless” lies, because I knew what I’d have to do if I did lie.

How about it? Will you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, with the help of God?

3. Be patient.

This is gonna take time. Lots of it. It’s just a natural consequence we have to face when we’ve sinned and hidden it. Be patient with your parents. They can’t see your heart. Give them time—lots of it—and watch God restore your relationship beyond what you would have ever imagined!

Because of God’s grace, there is always room for redemption, healing, and restored relationships!

I’m sorry it’s not easier. Sin rots. Its consequences are long-lasting. But because of God’s grace, there is always room for redemption, healing, and restored relationships!

What step will you take today to genuinely repent and stop lying, to communicate honestly, and to prepare for the long haul? Any other ideas you have that I didn’t include? Tell me about them below.

Then be sure to check back next month to learn why lying is such a big, hairy deal. ‘Cause believe it or not, we have a bigger issue than just regaining our parents’ trust. A much bigger issue . . .

PS: Don’t miss Friday’s post. Sarah will tackle the big trouble with little white lies.

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on PaulaWrites.com.

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  • Anonymous

    I always feel like every time I receive an email from LYWB it relates to present or sometimes recent events. My parents lost my trust, big time when I was 14, it’s been 3 years and they still have doubts. But I can say for sure, although it has taken a while, I’ve been more honest with my parents since that horrible stuff I harbored from them for so long. It really does suck when they find out from someone else! My parents trust me in most areas now, but there is always a soft spot.
    Tip: Don’t hide it, because the longer you do, the deeper you’ll go and the longer it’ll take to get out!

    I also wanted to ask about a situation…..
    I have a small group of friends, and I am one of those girls that gets along super well with guys (so I have experienced a lot of difficulties that come with that but I have found some girl friends and people to counsel me and everything’s been great)….only….Today one of my guy friends told me he that he felt like I’ve been showing signs of interest and he wanted to let me know that if I have feelings for him that he’s “down for it”. He also added, “But I don’t want you to stress out or anything like that, so if it stresses you then don’t worry, I just kinda wanted to let you know that I’m down.”
    I asked, “what do you mean, ‘down’?” He was extremely nervous and I could tell that this was super hard for him to tell me, and he admitted (mumbled) that he likes me but still, “dont stress”. The thing is, I never responded because my other friends walked over and I had to leave. So I said goodbye and rushed out! (I feel bad). He knows that I’m not allowed to date until next year. But that’s not even the problem…I see him as a cool friend now, and although I think he’s funny and would make a “cute boyfriend”, I know that I wouldn’t date him because he doesn’t have his heart set on God, he’s distracted with other things right now and (besides not wanting to be in relationships until I’m ready. And I don’t want to ever date someone unless it’s serious ), it’s hard because I dont want to ruin the friendship. I’m still finding myself in Christ and need/want someone going for the same goals that I am. I also need to get through school and just know that he doesn’t seem like he’s serious about (really) anything.
    I know you guys give great advice, I’ve read your blogs for about 5 years now. Thanks so much for all the support you give (and I will be talking with my youth leader about this also). Just always nice to have extra advise. 🙂

  • Sunshine100

    Wow such a great article. Very good advice. I lost my parents’ trust about 2 years ago. It was probably the worst day of my life. I was hiding so many things from them and doing stuff behind their back and it all crashed down on one day. I even lost my best mentor that day because of my attitude and I shoved her away. To this day I still have that splintered friendship and that memory of my poor decision. However, I learned to confess my problems to God and not always to friends as well as confessing my sins to Him and not sneaking around my parents. I have regained my parents trust mostly and I am making a daily effort to not make that mistake ever again. I guess sometimes a person has to hit rock bottom before they can stand taller.
    Thank you so much for this article! Very timely!

  • Hosaena

    Nice post, Paula!

  • Sarah

    Thanks for this post!

  • Mmolesy

    Thanks for this post!
    It really helps.
    I am 15 and have lost my parents trust with a lot of things except for relationships with guys.
    Sarah