How to Earn Trust

Some people struggle with honesty more than others. This struggle usually results from significant feelings of instability. Even after finding consistency, the struggle often returns when routines get rattled. With these people, learning how to earn trust is essential.

A great way to understand how to earn trust comes from how we can teach it to our children. My husband and I have often told our boys that they determine how much we trust them; they get to decide the level of trust that exists.

Practical Ways to Earn Trust

After explaining that how much we trust them is up to them, we provided practical ways to earn trust.

  1. Be faithful with small things. Small things done consistently over time add up to make a big difference. For our boys, this means being responsible with their possessions and keeping their rooms clean.
  2. Do what’s right even when no one is looking. We remind them that someone (God) always sees and that while he may not get caught, they don’t get away with it. We explain that this is the basis of their character.
  3. Check your attitude. Eye rolls. Hand flings. Voice tone. All of these speak toward lack of receptiveness. Being receptive — being teachable — opens your life up to blessings rather than undesirable consequences.
  4. Don’t get defensive. Fully listen first, which earns you the right to be heard. Defensiveness only alerts to the presence of dishonesty even more.
  5. Stop excuses. Think first, then check your motives. Before giving excuses, ask yourself if you’re trying to hide something. Own up to mistakes.
  6. Be honest. Seems obvious, but simply deciding to be truthful in attitude, actions & words goes a long way in your efforts to earn trust.
  7. Think of others. Putting others first often not only keeps you out of a lot of trouble, but it shows that you’re striving to not be selfish. Unselfishness goes a long way to help earn trust because dishonestly usually has selfish motives.
  8. Be dependable. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. Keep your commitments. There’s no quitting a team when the coach is mean. Young people can often serve as examples to adults in this area.
  9. Admit mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Get out how you’re feeling. Process your feelings. Deal with them before they direct you. Don’t let feelings determine actions. Don’t get hung up on the mistakes either. Move on.
  10. Stay positive. So many people are negative, mean and selfish. That doesn’t mean you have to be. Don’t let your circumstances determine your reality. Stay positive and focus on what you know is right.

This approach building trust works for any relationship, not just when teenagers want to earn trust with parents. Actually, the above habits are essential for anyone wanting a reputation of solid character.

Other posts on trust:

Christians in Training: 5 Lessons from 2 Timothy

The topic for today’s blog post was decided a month or so ago. Then my oldest son (13) came home from Bible camp this past Saturday and asked, “Mommy, will you write a blog post about my week at camp?” Of course, there was no way I could refuse, especially after he agreed to write out the 5 things he learned at camp that he wanted to focus on in his life.

5 Lessons from 2 Timothy

I. Practical Ways to Live Unashamed for Our Lord (2 Timothy 1)

  1. Refresh your gift (v. 6)
  2. Serve with courage (v. 7)
  3. Anticipate hardship (v. 8)
  4. Remember the God who saved You (v. 8)
  5. Trust your security (vv. 11-13)

Jonathan’s Application: After hearing these steps, I am going to try and be more open to talk about the Bible at school.

II. Jobs of a Christian (2 Timothy 2)

  1. Teachers (v. 2)
  2. Soldiers (vv. 3-4)
  3. Athletes (v. 5)
  4. Hard-Working Farmers (v. 6)

Jonathan’s Application: I am going to try and act like these jobs to be a better Christian.

III. How to Be a Useful Vessel (2 Timothy 2)

  1. Handle the Word rightly (vv. 14-19)
  2. Have a clean heart (vv. 21-22)
  3. Engage others correctly (vv. 23-26)

Jonathan’s Application: I am going to try and be a useful vessel to God by following these steps.

IV. How to make Time for God’s Word (2 Timothy 3)

  1. Pray for help & guidance (James 4)
  2. Make a plan (Isaiah 32:8)
  3. Get accountability (Proverbs 27:17)
  4. Get back-up (Psalm 37:23-24)

Jonathan’s Application: I am going to try using these steps and make time for God’s Word.

V. How to Effectively Preach the Word (2 Timothy 4)

  1. Have spiritual wisdom and an understanding of the Gospel
  2. Experience the power of the gospel in your heart
  3. Handle the Bible with skill
  4. Have the right motive
  5. Be ready at all times

Jonathan’s Application: After hearing these steps, I am going to try and preach the Word to some of my friends.

CONCLUSION

Not only did my son come back excited about studying God’s Word, he also came back questioning some of the teachings. Now, let me first just say that the teachings at Bair Lake Bible Camp are Bible based and come through spirit-led Christians. But what excites me about my son’s questioning is that through his questioning, he and I were able to discuss several important aspects of being a Christian (especially as a teenager). Not only that, but we were able to discuss the importance of “examining the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11) on your own in addition to hearing preaching/teaching.

My son was too young this year to become a junior counselor after going through Christians in Training (CIT), but he is looking forward to doing so next year. In fact, he’s excited about going back to Bair Lake Bible Camp for CIT through high school. To have your child excited about not just learning about God’s Word but also eager to apply it in his everyday life and beyond truly brings the greatest joy as a parent.

DISCUSSION: What aspects of Jonathan’s notes do you want to apply to your life?

Subscribe to Struggle to Victory by Email or Subscribe in a reader