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 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

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

  • * Requests or gives personal information such as email address, address, or phone number.
  • * Attacks other readers.
  • * Uses vulgar or profane language.