03321_000_007The following situations and responses from New Era readers are to provide perspective and insight. These suggestions are from youth and should not be considered counsel from the General Authorities or pronouncements of the Church.
I have a friend who is very dear and close to me. We have one of those rare friendships that you don’t find too often. We can sit for hours and just talk without knowing the time is passing so fast. She is also very close to the Church and is on the ward service and activities committee.
For some reason my parents don’t think too much of her. They are often very rude and snub her. She feels uneasy because of the way they treat her. What should I do?
“Whatever the reasons your parents have for objecting to your friend, you should try to find out what they are. Remember, as long as a person is dependent upon his parents, it is necessary to be obedient to them in all things not contrary to the laws of our country or the laws of our Father in heaven. You should first ask your Heavenly Father to help you to communicate with your parents, and then ask them kindly, courteously, and patiently what it is that causes them to be worried about the friendship that you share with your friend. It could very well be that the only fault they see is that you are much too absorbed in her to the exclusion of other friends that you aught to have at this age of your life.”
Henry Nicholes Laie, Hawaii
“I believe that young people should have a close relationship with their families and that they should be able to talk with their parents when they have a problem. Maybe if you talk to your parents and explain to them how you feel about this situation, they will realize how concerned you are and they will be kinder to your friend.
“But before you do this, I would advise a word of prayer with your Heavenly Father. If you have any problems, in most cases you will find that he is the one you should turn to for guidance before you try to solve them yourself.”
Michelle Abernathy Monrovia, Maryland
“First, you should talk to your parents calmly about your friend and find out why they don’t like her. If it is because of her appearance or personality, you could explain to your parents why your friend is the way she is so they will understand her better. If it is because of her family (maybe they are not Church members, are inactive members, or are of a lower social status), you could help your parents understand what sort of a person your friend really is and what she believes in and means to you.
“Keep good communication with your parents so they will trust you to be a good influence on your friend.”
Sandra Griffin and the Panama City (Florida) Beehive Class
“Try to bring your friend into closer contact with your parents at Church activities. Example is the best teacher.
“Also, get others in the ward who know your friend well to tell your parents what a wonderful person your friend is. It may just be a simple misunderstanding that could be quickly resolved.”
Donald Thompson Bushnell, Florida
“I think you should check into your friend’s background. Maybe you’ll find out what it is that your parents dislike about her. Your parents are very wise most of the time, and a lot of the time they know loads more than you. So listen to them. After you have checked into it and discover the thing your parents dislike about your friend, talk to them about it. Get it out into the open and discuss it.”
Kerry Porter Charlotte, North Carolina
“As a parent, this is my side of the story. Four years ago one of my sons met an active Church member, and they soon became very dear friends. This friend invited our son to wander through stores all day with no money, just to look around, or to stay out after dark to throw rocks at bottles and just walk and talk. We tried to stop it by bringing them home for games and more noble activities. The friend was very sarcastic to us and our children, and our son picked up his ways. We tried to break up the friendship, but it didn’t work. Occasionally the boy would tell jokes that were disrespectful to Church leaders. We curtailed that in our home. He and my son spent a great deal of time on the phone and chores were neglected. Our gifted pianist could not get to his piano lessons on time because his friend walked and talked with him, and they lost track of the time. He began to have no time to practice because he needed to talk and pal with his friend. In school his normally high grades began to fall. The real blow came when our son, once very enthused about the gospel, said he didn’t want to hear other testimonies because he did not have one.
“We are not snobs, just concerned parents who want the best for our children. Look into your own life. Do you help your parents with chores? Do you spend time with them? Or is your friend more important than family home evening? Do you feel a need to be with your friend constantly? Are you the strong one whom she copies, or do you copy her ways?”
“I feel you should sit down and ask your parents about the matter. You know, they could have gotten the wrong impression of your friend. Help them get to know your friend better, and perhaps they will find out what a sweet spirit she is.”
Terri Bullington Montrose, Colorado
“How close are you to your parents? If you go to them with more of your problems and even have family prayer together, you can develop this closeness. I feel very close to my mom because we talk a lot and I tell her about my friends, activities, experiences, and so on. It’s helped a lot in relation to her liking my friends. If she knows more about them, then she can feel comfortable around them and even know if they are a good influence on me. I believe that developing a strong closeness to your parents can help you out.”
Danette Dupree Phoenix, Arizona
“Your parents probably have a reason for their actions, but it may just be a misunderstanding that can be easily solved. If their reason is more serious and cannot be solved without hurt feelings, just remember, whatever action you take, your relationship with your family is the most important thing in the world.”
Sandra Johnson Bountiful, Utah
“The situation sounds so familiar. My parents feel the same way about my friend. We still haven’t settled it yet, but we talk together about it quite often. They think that we shouldn’t run around only with each other but that we should find other friends also. They are also seeking out the good in my friend, and I think that helps.”
Sandi Smith Idaho Falls, Idaho
“In your situation I believe I would try to sit down with my parents and talk to them about the reasons behind their dislike of my friend. Parents usually have a good reason behind what they do, and their reason may prove to be a misunderstanding that a good talk will clear up. If this doesn’t work, you can always talk to the Lord and receive guidance on how to handle your problem.”
Christal Ririe Afton, Wyoming