How To Get Your Parents’ Trust Back After You Messed Up

Hi Heather,

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with my friends and we were playing a game of who could complete a list of activities to do… all of them were really bad. I ended up having quite a bit to drink, and my friend and I got a tattoo on our ankles. As I was drinking, I wasn’t thinking of the consequences, but the next day I started to realize that my parents would be pretty disappointed and angry. I wasn’t going to lie to them, so I showed them and my dad was furious. He kept demanding the name of the tattoo artist (I’m underage) and screaming at me about how I’ve lost his trust.

I understand where he’s coming from and I’m more than willing to accept the full consequences and punishment, but I don’t want to have a bad relationship with him. I just want to know what I should do to gain his trust back.


Honestly, it sounds like you did all the right things here. You realized that you made a mistake and you owned up to it instead of hiding it. You approached your parents right away instead of putting it off. It sounds like you apologized instead of claiming you didn’t do anything wrong. And you’re more than willing to accept your punishment. Unfortunately, even when you do all the right things after you mess up, it isn’t always enough to make parents forgive you immediately.

It sounds like your dad is just having a hard time accepting what you did. Depending on his personality and his morals and views, it might take him quite some time before he’s ready to forgive you and trust you again. Sometimes you just have to wait it out, which is a frustrating answer, but also pretty true. In the meantime, though, there are some things you can do that might help things go smoother and faster.

First, talk to your dad again. I suggest writing a note explaining exactly how you feel. Writing it down will allow you to really get everything out in the most mature way possible. It will also show your dad that you put time and effort into your apology. And it will let him read it when he wants to. Explain how sorry you are and how important it is to you that you two have a good relationship. Let him know that you know you did the wrong thing and you wish you could take it back. Just really get your feelings out there.

For the next few weeks, just be on extra good behavior. Follow whatever your punishment is. Do chores even when you’re not asked to do them. Try to spend some time with your parents. Show your dad how sorry you are and don’t just say it.

Gaining trust back is a long process that can take a lot of time. While you’re trying to do it, you have to be extra careful to follow the rules your parents give you. You also have to go above and beyond. And you have to be patient. You can’t do all the right things for a week, and then be frustrated that things didn’t change immediately. Slowly but surely, your dad will stop being angry – and one day he’ll trust you again. Good luck!

take care,

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