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My Parents Don’t Trust Me

My Parents Don’t Trust Me

Dear Rachel,

Recently I did something wrong and I got caught. Also, my parents have also found out that my friends have been making bad choices, too. My parents don’t trust me any more. What can I do?

 

Dear Friend,

I think it says a lot about you that your main concern is your parents’ disappointment. I’m the same kind of kid – it was always way worse to have my mom and dad be hurt or disappointed than it was for them to be angry or yelling. This shows that you are truly sorry for hurting them and you want to have a great relationship with them. That’s so important! Your parents were the first people who loved you and they love you more than anyone else in your life can. That’s where their disappointment comes from – they love you, they want to trust you, and they’re hurt that their trust in you was broken.

So… how can you rebuild that trust? Let both of them – Mom and Dad – know that their trust is really important to you, and that you know it has been broken but you would like to rebuild it. If you haven’t yet, apologize to them for the things you’ve done wrong. Let them clearly know how sorry you are for disobeying their wishes. It might even be a good idea to ask them to take you to Confession at your parish. This will show them that you want to make things right, not only with them, but also with God. I always feel so great after going to Reconciliation, because I know that God’s grace heals me of my sin and gives me strength to avoid sin in the future. Some other ideas on rebuilding trust would include – and these may sound silly, but they come from friends of mine who are parents and know about this kind of stuff – doing chores without complaining or rolling your eyes, doing extra chores voluntarily, being respectful in the way that you talk and act, being open and honest in your conversations, and apologizing when you mess up. You probably know that your parents’ trust doesn’t automatically come back as soon as your punishment ends. Trust is fragile, and it takes time to rebuild it, but these little things will definitely help with that process. You might even want to ask them what you can do to regain their trust, if you think that might help.

I think one of the main reasons your parents might be so disappointed is because they are worried about the kind of friends you have chosen. As much as they love you, they probably don’t get nearly as much of your time or attention as your friends do, and they also probably don’t have nearly as much of an influence on your choices as they used to. That’s a normal part of being a teenager, and a really scary thing for a parent! What is awesome, though, is that even though your friends really influence who you are, you are the only one who decides who your friends are. So here’s a really important question: who is more influential, you or your friends? What I mean is, are you influencing your friends to make good choices, or are they influencing you to make bad ones? If your friends are experimenting with stuff like drinking and sex, that’s incredibly dangerous. Are these the best friends for you? Will they help you become the kind of person you want to be?

Being in high school, so you have a lot of big decisions to make. And the biggest one is what kind of person you want to be. You have to choose, now, because if you don’t, then your friends will choose for you. They’ll decide how you spend your weekends, who you hang out with, maybe even who you date and how your relationships look. Now, please don’t take this as me saying that you have to stop hanging out with all your friends and get new ones. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying that you need to be really honest with yourself and ask two questions: what kind of people are my friends, and am I a bigger influence on them than they are on me? I know plenty of teenagers who are making good choices and hang out with kids who don’t, simply because they think that they can be a positive influence. And I think that they are. Are you? Or are your friends being a bad influence on you? If they aren’t helping you be the kind of person you want to be, it might be time to cut some ties.

I hope this was helpful. I’ve been praying for you, and I will continue to do so, as you and Mom and Dad try to make things right. I hope you’ll be able to rebuild their trust, and keep it. I’ll also be praying for all your relationships, especially for good friendships that will make you the person you want – and God wants you – to be.

God Bless,

Rachel

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