What you can do
Consider: Overall, does your pattern of behavior give your parents reason to withhold their trust?
For example, the apostle Paul wrote: “
We wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18) Ask yourself, ‘What kind of track record do I have when it comes to being up front with my parents about my whereabouts and activities?’
I was secretly e-mailing a boy I liked. My parents found out about it and told me to stop. I promised that I would, but I didn’t. This went on for a year. I’d e-mail the boy, my parents would find out, I’d apologize and promise to stop, but then I’d do it again. It got to the point where my parents couldn’t trust me with anything!”
Why, do you think, did Lori’s parents withhold their trust?
If you were Lori’s parent, what would you have done, and why?
How could Lori have behaved more responsibly after her parents first talked to her about the problem?
My parents didn’t trust me when it came to boys, but now I can understand why. I was flirting with a couple of them who were two years older than I was. I was also spending long hours on the phone with them, and at gatherings I’d talk to them and almost no one else. My parents took away my phone for a month, and they wouldn’t let me go places where those boys would be.”
If you were Beverly’s parents, what would you have done, and why?
Do you think the restrictions that Beverly’s parents placed on her were unreasonable? If so, why?
What could Beverly have done to restore her parents’ trust?
What you can do
First, identify the area in which you have lost a measure of trust.
Keeping my curfew
Following through on my promises
Being financially responsible
Getting out of bed without prodding
Keeping my room clean
Speaking the truth
Using the phone or computer in a balanced way
Admitting mistakes and apologizing
Second, make a resolve. Set a goal to prove yourself trustworthy in the areas you indicated. Follow the admonition of the Bible: “
Put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct.” (Ephesians 4:22) In time, everyone, including your parents, will see your progress.—1 Timothy 4:15.
Third, talk with your parents about your resolve. Instead of complaining that they need to be more trusting, respectfully ask them what they think you need to do to earn their trust.
Caution: Don’t expect your parents to make concessions immediately. No doubt they’ll want to make sure that you’ll make good on your promises. Use this opportunity to prove yourself trustworthy. In time, your parents may well give you greater trust and freedom. That was the case with Beverly, quoted earlier. “It’s much harder to gain trust than it is to lose it,” she says, adding, “I’m gaining trust right now, and it feels good!”
The bottom line: The more trustworthy you are, the more trust you are likely to receive.
Do you feel suffocated by the rules your parents set? Learn how to communicate your feelings to them.