How I Lost My Parents’ Trust

I recently hung out with a teen whose parents don’t trust her ‘cause of what she’s done. It’s a crummy place to be—trust me—and it reminded me of my own experience as a teen. It went something like this:

girl with parentsGrowing up, I had super.protective.parents. We didn’t have any major problems, though, until we moved from Nebraska to Illinois my eighth grade year. The school was itty-bitty (fourteen kids in my whole grade!), so I didn’t exactly have a whole lot of options when it came to choosing wise friends. It wasn’t long before they were encouraging me to do things behind my parents’ backs. And that’s exactly what I did.

One particular day, I wrote one of my old friends from Nebraska the latest news in a letter (yep, that was before Facebook!). My friend wrote back, but instead of addressing the envelope to “phendricks,” she wrote my nickname on the envelope (thanks a lot!). When my parents saw the letter in the mail, they didn’t know who it was for. So they opened it. And read it. And this is what they read: “I can’t believe you’re dating Craig* behind your parents’ backs!”

That verse in Numbers 32:23: “Be sure your sin will find you out”? Well, it’s true! That was probably the first seed of distrust that was (rightfully) planted in my parents’ hearts. And guess what they did? Like any good parents, they prayed that God would help them find out whenever I was up to something bad. And He answered 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 during that time for “reading my mail” and being so strict, I have to say that they were right. I was a deceiver. I lied. A lot. I don’t know if you can relate, but it’s not a fun way to live. Always wondering if you’ll be found out. And then when you are, having the people closest to you not know if anything you say is true.

How about you? Have you given your parents (or others) any reason NOT to trust you? Are you one person around them and a different person entirely when you think they’re not looking? (Or am I the only one?)

I’d love to hear your answer. Then check back next Wednesday as I share a few thoughts about how to regain your parents’ trust.

*Name changed

About Author

Paula Marsteller 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 two young sons and seeking to practice "radically ordinary hospitality." 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 Central New York. You can catch her writing on

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