How do you learn to trust again when your teen has broken that trust time and time again ?
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Sadly, in a nutshell, you don't. If your teen has broken your trust "time and time again" you would be crazy to trust him/her again. Of course prayer is the best thing to do, but I'm confident you already do that. God is not going to yank them into line against their will so it's up to the child to decide to act right. I think when a kid proves that they are not going to listen to you and they are not to be trusted, it's time for them to move out. If he/she is too young to move out then you just have to assume at all times that your teen is doing something wrong and act accordingly. If the kid complains that you are distrusting and suspicious, well that's the choice HE/SHE made. I think trust has to be earned back. I've known people with out of control teens and the best way your kid can prove that he/she is trustworthy is to agree to live under scrutiny from now on. You know where they are, you call to make sure, they report to you at all times. You search their room. Whatever kind of scrutiny is required based on however they broke your trust. You assume that every word they say is a lie and check up on them accordingly. If the kid is willing to live with you breathing down his/her neck, there may be a chance that trust can someday (a long time from now) be restored. If not, then I am so sorry to tell you that you probably are going to just have to wait until the child is 18 and kick them out. It sounds mean but it's been my observation that when a kid gets kicked out and has to sink or swim on his own, it tends to motivate them to more responsible behavior. I'm so sorry to hear about this. It must be heartbreaking.
Vicki - posted on 07/22/2009
Keep loving your teen, but let him or her know that trust must be earned. Also, I believe you must practice and model what you preach. So...you must earn their trust ...you must demonstrate your own trustworthiness. I like what Laura said about taking the trust to the next level one small step at a time. Give your teen hope that your trust can be earned again. Tell him how he can do it, show him what it looks like. Encourage and praise his efforts and successes. When failure happens, let him know he'll soon have another opportuniy to make a different choice. Let God's grace shine in your relationship with your teen.
Anne - posted on 07/19/2009
Hi Shiela, Prayer and lots of it. Our oldest went through about 6 years of behavior that was any thing but trustworthy. To make matters worse the school system just kept telling us it was a phase. Some of the things that we would not budge on were: Church and Youth Group attendance. When your teen is out of the house Pray through his/her room. Start at the door way and go all around the room until you are back to the doorway. If your teen drives do the same thing with what ever car she/he drives.
Here are some examples of what to Pray for: FOR the bedroom, 1. Every one who crosses the threshold of the room. 2. the conversations shared in the room, 3. The clothes worn in and out of the room. 4. Any food and or beverage consumed in the room. 5. Anything else you are concerned about.
I know this is the hardest part of all of this, but try to keep the the lines of communication open. If your teen will Pray with your teen as often as possible.
In our case our daughters already knew that I would read any and all "notes" Or "letters" that were left sitting around in their room. I know this is controversial BUT after much Prayer we knew it was the right thing to do.
I know it does take a great deal of trust and faith to believe your teen after trust is broken, but with Pray and lots of it, your relationship can be restored.
Our oldest daughter has become a trustworthy young woman who loves her mom and dad and more importantly she Loves the Lord!
Laura - posted on 07/18/2009
Even within the framework of unconditional love, trust must be earned.
Here's kind of an idea. Work together with the child to develop a plan for trust to be earned and rebuilt in small ways. As the teen endeavors to have the trust bestowed as a reward in the smaller ways, perhaps she or he will place more value on the trust that is extended by you. You can use a point system or a symbolic exchange of an item to represent the rebuilding process. Then, when trust is required from you on a larger scale, discuss it first and openly lay out the ramifications that could occur from the betrayal of that trust, so that the consequences of breaking it will be enough to deter it from happening.
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