If there's a magic bullet that children, especially teenagers, use on their folks, a perfect phrase that melts the toughest resolve of a parent within seconds, it's these four words: You don't trust me! I'm Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family, and I've been the victim of that phrase myself. The instant a young person acuses us of being suspicious, of imagining the worst about him, we start back peddling. "No dear, it's not that I don't trust you being out with your friends or taking the car, it's just that I...", and then we run out of words; totally flustered. Well, maybe it's about time we got honest as parents, and recognized that trust is divisible. In other words, we can trust our children at some things, but not others. It's not an all or nothing proposition. We do this in the adult world with business all the time. Most of us are authorized, for example, to spend a certain amount of the company's money in certain accounts, but not the whole corporate checkbook. I don't even trust myself to attempt certain things like sky diving or bungi jumping, for example. So, let's stop being suckered by our kids, and boldly state that trust comes in stages. Some of it now, and more later on. Parents have the task of risking only what we can reasonably expect to be handled safely. To do more is not really trust; it's foolhearty. I'm Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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