Did your child break your trust? Can they earn it back?

family forgiveness kids mistakes parenting teens trust Apr 06, 2023

Did your child/teen break your trust?

  • Did they steal someone's phone?
  • Have they broken a household rule, again?
  • Are they lying to you about where they are going after school?

It is hard to have your child be untrustworthy. 

You want to do right by them and give them a fair chance, but you don't want to give too much grace where they don't learn the lessons from their mistakes.

  • How do you decide what the punishment should be?
  • How do you make the punishment fit the crime?
  • How do you know how to balance it all with grace?

I want to challenge you...Don't consider these string of poor choices as trust issues.

Once we make it about "trust," we no longer are dealing with a behavior problem, but now a relationship problem...and those are much harder to repair.

When we make it about trust, we tell our children that they have to earn it back, but how can they do that?

Trust is based on how YOU feel as a parent, which is a moving target for your kids to try to hit.

How can you set them up for success?

If they learn to make decisions based on how you feel, we train them to make decisions based on how other people they care about feel about them...

We don't want our children to think it is okay if they end up in an unhealthy relationship with a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse that uses their emotions to control your child's decisions in life.

Here's what you can do instead.

Make it about responsibility, not about trust.

Responsibility means they are able to take care of what they are in charge of.

Think of it this way.

When did God love you? Was it when you behaved?

No, He was the one who initiated trust, unconditional love, and a new way of how we can see ourselves even while we were sinners. Trust is a gift that we give.

The reason your child isn't showing the responsible actions and choices is because they don't yet know or embrace their heavenly identity so it does not manifest.

If your child keeps breaking trust, we deal with it and find appropriate ways of addressing the heart of the issue.

For example, if your teen uses their phone to look at porn, they are showing you that they are still learning how to be responsible with electronics, with guarding their eyes, and managing sexual desire.

So how do you parent that?

Together, you help them learn the skills of digital safety, understanding the reasons why porn isn't okay, and work through managing sexual temptations and desire.

This approach is supportive, collaborative, and non-shaming. You'll also get abetter response with your teen, feel better as a parent, and equip them with wisdom.

Instead of parent-centered behavioral control, they are learning self-control by developing the skills they need WITH you.


If you want to talk more about this topic with me, make a post in my free Facebook group, "God, Help Me" and let me know how your child "broke trust" so we can explore ways to help you address the relationship.

I hope to see your post in the group!

Go to the Community with Diana Bigham