Questions and Answers


“My parents are divorced. Sometimes I get advice from one of them that contradicts advice from the other. What do I do?”

This is a tough situation. Divorce is hard enough on a family. Now you have the challenge of honoring but not pleasing both of your parents.

If possible, talk to them about your concerns. They might decide to be unified for your sake. If they don’t want to change their minds, you could follow the advice of the parent who feels strongest about it—as long as he or she isn’t asking you to break the commandments.

If the advice they give you is good but different—like trying out for the school choir or the volleyball team—then make a prayerful decision after hearing them out. Heavenly Father will guide you through the Holy Ghost. If one parent questions you, you can kindly explain that you prayed and have decided what you feel is best.

If one parent advises you to do something wrong, then you need to figure out a way to choose the right. For example, if your father asks you to stay home from church to spend time with him, you could try to work out a situation in which you can attend church and then spend time with him. Remember that choosing the right is one way to bring honor to your parents.

Ask Your Bishop

You can ask your bishop or branch president for advice. He will help you a lot, since our Heavenly Father has granted him the power to help us. I know that it is very difficult to choose in these decisions, but you ought to carefully analyze each bit of advice from your parents and choose what is best so that you can press forward and progress.

Joseph S., age 17, La Libertad, Peru

Learn New Coping Skills

It may seem hard, but it is possible to cope with divorce—and have a good family life. A life-changing event like a divorce can put people through some tough times, but it can also help them learn about their strengths and put in place some new coping skills. If you need help figuring out how to cope, ask a favorite relative or your school counselor or your bishop. And if you find it hard to talk to your parents, try writing them a letter.

James P., age 17, Cebu, Philippines

Pray for Guidance

I have experienced the same problem. Whenever I got conflicting advice, I went down on my knees and prayed to my Heavenly Father to know which pieces of advice to take into consideration, just as the Prophet Joseph Smith did to know which of all the sects was true. Each time the answers came loud and clear, and I knew perfectly the right advice to follow.

Anita O., age 17, Western, Ghana

It’s Your Decision

It’s difficult when the two people you turn to the most for advice contradict each other. People are going to have different opinions. But in situations like this, you just need to listen to both, have an open mind, and in the end decide for yourself what is the best way and what way the Lord would agree with. It’s hard to reject one parent or the other, but you must remember that it’s not a competition. You will still love them, and they will probably be happy that you made the right decision, even if the decision is not what they suggested exactly.

Janiece H., age 18, North Carolina, USA

Prayer Helps

Pray that you will be able to know all things concerning what you asked your parents’ advice for. Parents sometimes have different views about situations. Heavenly Father can help you make the right decision. Parental advice is valuable, but when your parents contradict each other, go to your Heavenly Father for guidance and advice. Praying will always help you handle these situations.

Leah H., age 17, California, USA

Follow Nephi’s Example

As a missionary I have encountered similar cases, and I always refer to Nephi’s example of obedience. Each time he received counsel from his parents, he put it into practice because it was good and came from God. But when he broke his bow, his father and others murmured. Nephi, by his example, led his father to pray for guidance. (See 1 Nephi 16:18–25.) This is our example. Accept counsel from your parents, but if one gives advice that is different from what the Lord would have you do, have the courage to respectfully tell him or her the reason you won’t follow that counsel. And the best reason is that we want to choose the right.

Elder Kapila, age 21, Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission

Knowing What Is Right

My parents often gave me different advice, but I always knew what was right. I was born in the gospel. I know the truth, and this enables me to determine which counsel I should follow. In some cases, we need to pray to Heavenly Father and simply listen to the still voice of the Holy Ghost or to go to the bishop and hear what he has to say.

Erica C., age 18, Bahia, Brazil

Turn to Your Leaders

You can always turn to your leaders. Through the Young Women and Young Men organizations, the Lord has sent great leaders to inspire the youth. They have been called to help you and teach you, so they are a wonderful source of inspiration and answers. You can also turn to your bishop for the same reason. These leaders have been set apart to help youth especially.

Rebecca S., age 15, Washington, USA

Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as official pronouncements of Church doctrine.

Healing and Hope

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“All who have been through divorce know the pain and need the healing power and hope that come from the Atonement. That healing power and that hope are there for them and also for their children.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Divorce,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2007, 71.

Next Question

“One of my friends really offended me. I know I’m supposed to be forgiving, but how do I get over the hurt?”

Submit your answer by March 15, 2012, at liahona.lds.org, by e-mail to liahona@ldschurch.org, or by mail to:

Liahona, Questions & Answers 3/12
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Salt Lake City, UT 84150-0024, USA

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