What you should know

The amount of trust you receive depends on how trustworthy you are. Obeying your parents’ rules is like paying off a debt. You owe your parents your obedience, and the more reliable you are at making ‘payments,’ the more ‘credit’ (or freedom) you will likely receive from them. On the other hand, if you’ve been untrustworthy, don’t be surprised if your parents reduce your ‘line of credit.’

Trust takes time to earn. You need to demonstrate a pattern of responsible behavior before your parents will grant more freedom to you.

TRUE STORY: “As a teenager, I knew exactly what my parents wanted from me, so I would pretend to do those things even though I was really doing what I wanted to in secret. That made it difficult for my parents to trust me. After a while, I learned that there’s no way around it: You can’t cheat your way into being given more freedom. You have to be trustworthy in order to be trusted.”​—Craig.

 What you can do

Be truthful​—even when it hurts. Everyone makes mistakes, but covering them over with lies (or withholding certain facts to obscure the truth) will shatter any trust your parents have in you. On the other hand, when you build up a record of being completely honest, your parents will see that you are mature enough to own up to your mistakes. And that’s the kind of person who can be trusted.

“You won’t always lose trust as a result of making mistakes, but you will always lose trust by trying to hide them.”​—Anna.

The Bible says: “We wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.”​—Hebrews 13:18.

  • To think about: When your parents ask you where you are going and what you will be doing, do you tell them the whole truth? Or when your parents ask where you went and what you did, do you play down details that they would want to know?

Be responsible. Obey all house rules. Do your chores promptly. Be punctual for appointments. Take responsibility for your schoolwork. Don’t break your curfew.

“If your parents let you hang out with your friends but ask you to be home by 9:00 p.m., don’t walk into your home at 10:30 and expect to be allowed to hang out with your friends next time!”​—Ryan.

The Bible says: “Each one will carry his own load of responsibility.”​—Galatians 6:5, footnote.

  • To think about: What is your track record when it comes to being on time, finishing your chores, and obeying rules​—even the ones you don’t like?

Be patient. If you’ve broken your parents’ trust, it will take time to regain it. Be willing to wait.

“I was frustrated when my parents wouldn’t give me more responsibility when I reached a certain age. I didn’t realize that growing older isn’t the same as growing up. I asked my parents for opportunities to prove myself. It took a while, but it worked. And I learned that age doesn’t earn trust; actions do.”​—Rachel.

The Bible says: “Keep proving what you yourselves are.”​—2 Corinthians 13:5.

  • To think about: To gain (or regain) your parents’ trust, what are some things you can do to ‘prove what you are’?

TIP: Set a goal, whether in regard to being punctual, finishing chores, keeping your curfew, or anything else. Let your parents know about your resolve, and ask them what they expect from you to earn their trust. Then work hard to follow the admonition of the Bible: “Put away the old personality that conforms to your former course of conduct.” (Ephesians 4:​22) In time your parents will see your progress!