Trust: How Do You Let Your Child Earn It Back?

Posted January 3, 2011 by

Trust:  it’s hard enough to keep, but how do you get it back?

About a year ago, one of my daughter’s stole some pills from a neighbor she was babysitting for. We went through a lot for the next six months. Then she got caught sneaking out and doing drugs last spring. Since then, things have been a bit touchy in our house, to say the least.

Naturally, when my son’s medication came up missing, my daughter was my number one suspect. I didn’t come right out and ask her at first, I watched to see how she was acting. Sure enough, she wasn’t acting herself. She is usually happy and on-the-go, but this particular day she just laid around and seemed down, not wanting to do anything. I still didn’t confront her. What I did instead was inform her counselor what my suspicions were.

Why did I do it that way? Because I didn’t want her to feel I was attacking her. If she was taking the pills, there was a reason and I wanted her to talk freely to someone. In my mind she wouldn’t have talked to me, but would have gone on the defensive and not told the truth. They talked, and she felt my daughter was being completely honest about not taking the pills. I was still skeptical. Within the next week, I found out the truth. My daughter hadn’t taken the pills, someone else had. I apologized to her after I found out — I thought she deserved a big one for dealing with what I had put her through.

Now I’m wondering how unfair I was to automatically assume she took my son’s medication. But then on the other hand I can’t justify simply giving her my trust back. I have tried, but her history is there and I can’t let it go. I am slowly letting her do things like stay overnight at a friend’s house, or go places for a few hours, but I am constantly wondering what she is doing and if she’s doing something wrong. It sometimes drives me crazy. But all I can do is show her that despite my lack of trust I still love her — and hope that she will earn my trust back eventually.

Has your child done something that’s caused you to stop trusting them? How do you deal with lack of trust?


LeeAnn, mother of three girls and one boy, aged 16, 14, 12 and 6. Each of the children except the youngest has issues, including ADHD, ODD, poor impulse control, major anger and depression.

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  1. Kirby Report

    There is no pat answer for this problem. I have a child (one of four) who has consistently lied to me over the years. I have tried every way imaginable to correct this behaivor including therphy, rewards, little-by-little and countless ways I can’t begin to tell you. I finally just accepted that if it was something that sounded funny it is probably a lie.

    Sorry I don’t have any better answers for you.



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