How to Make Your Dad Trust You

Avoid sulking when talking about trust issues with your dad.
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Although your dad's love is unconditional, his trust is not. Whether he caught you in a lie, found out that you broke curfew or lost his trust in you over another dishonest action, getting back in his good graces takes time and energy. While making your dad trust you again isn't always easy, you can rebuild this essential family relationship ingredient.

1 Talk It Out

Even though a simple conversation won't bring back your dad's complete trust, it can start the process of restoring it. Instead of launching into a stream of apologies or a jumble of words, know what you want to get out of the discussion beforehand. An article on TeensHealth website suggests that you list your conversation goals -- such as explaining why you broke dad's trust or reassuring him that it will never happen again -- prior to talking. Acknowledge your feelings as well as your dad's. Let him know that you understand why he is disappointed in you and tell him how you feel about the situation.

2 Offer an Apology

While an apology in itself won't heal your dad's broken trust, it is a beginning step in the right direction. Instead of a simple "I'm sorry," go deeper into how you hurt your dad. To make a heartfelt apology you need to take responsibility for your actions and the impact that they had, according to counselor David Bedrick in the article "Building & Repairing Trust: Keys to Sustainable Relationship" in Psychology Today. Psychologist John M. Grohol says your apology should include an acknowledgement of your wrongdoing, a statement that you accept responsibility for it, remorse for your actions and an assurance that you won't do it again, in his article "How to Make an Adept, Sincere Apology," on PsychCentral.

3 Make a Plan

Come up with a plan to move forward with your dad. While telling dad that you'll never break his trust again can be part of your apology, you also need to formulate a path to success. Bedrick says that if this promise is not accompanied by a real acceptance of wrongdoing, the promise will carry little weight and probably not be kept. Create actionable steps that will get your relationship with dad back to a trusting state. For example, if you lied about sleeping over at your friend's house and stayed out all night with your boyfriend, create a plan with dad that includes letting him know what time you are going out, calling him when you get to where you're going and asking your friend's parent to vouch for your whereabouts if necessary.

4 Give it Time

Think about what would happen if you cheated on your girlfriend. Even if you sincerely apologized after fessing up, it would still take her weeks or months to trust that you wouldn't hurt her again. Apply this principle to your relationship with your dad. It may take dad time to get back to trusting you, according to the article "Apologizing" on TeensHealth. Depending on the severity of your lie, the hurt that your dad feels may make him skeptical about trusting you right away.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.