Everyone comes from a different family situation, and everyone’s parents are different. Some teenagers think having a relationship with their parents isn’t cool or looks bad to their friends. The gospel teaches otherwise. Families are central to our Heavenly Father’s plan. It is important to realize how your parents have influenced your life, what they have taught you, what their strengths are, and how you can work to gain a better relationship with them. Here are some reflections and some advice from other young men and women on how to appreciate and talk with your parents.
What is something you have learned from your parents?
I have learned to always enjoy life and to do stuff that makes me happy. I’ve also learned the gospel from them. They also have taught me the importance of getting good grades.
Genny H., 14, Oklahoma
I’ve learned to interact with people and always stay calm. My dad is good at that. I can get so mad at him, and he will never get mad back. He’s really taught me to find the best in people and how to stay calm in situations when I want to lose it. I have also learned how to have a good relationship when I’m married. I admire that my parents sometimes act like they’re still dating. I want that when I’m married.
Dallin J., 17, Missouri
What is something you admire about your parents?
I admire that my parents work really hard, but then they play hard too. Even though they work a lot, they always make time to have fun with our family. We have both family time and one-on-one time together.
Kaitlyn J., 15, Oregon
I admire how strong my parents are in the gospel. We go to all of the Church activities, and they make sure we get there on time. They’re very strong with their Church callings and that’s a good quality that I admire.
Kristyn K., 14, Illinois
What has helped you to have a better relationship with your parents?
My mom always tries really hard to unify our family. She makes sure we try to do as many family activities as possible. Talking with my parents helps too. When I talk to my parents, I tell them pretty much everything I do. They know all about all my friends, so they trust me when I go out with them. They know I won’t do anything that they wouldn’t want me to do.
Hollie V., 16, South Dakota
They always like to play with me and make sure they get to spend time with me, so they can influence what I do. That really helps a lot to build our relationship.
Cody R., 13, Georgia
How are you able to talk to your parents?
My parents sit me down calmly and we talk things over. I listen to them, and then they listen to what I have to say. Then together we make a decision. Sometimes there is conflict, but it’s easily solved. We just talk things through with each other and go on.
Carson L., 15, California
I learned at a young age that it’s a lot easier to get what I want if I compromise. For example, if I tell my parents, “I’m going to go do this,” they tell me no. But if I say, “If I do my chores, can I go out?” I normally get a yes. Also, there are a lot of times that my dad or mom will just take me aside, and I can talk with them a lot easier when it’s just one-on-one.
Emily J., 16, North Carolina
What advice do you have for youth who are struggling to get along with their parents?
The best way to improve a relationship is through loving them even if they do something you don’t like or you get angry at them. I think just humbling yourself and giving them a hug and just saying “I love you” is a way to start a relationship if it hasn’t already begun.
Kristen L., 16, North Carolina
Let your parents know what’s going on. I figure if I just tell them, I don’t have to worry about getting in trouble.
Adam M., 17, Pennsylvania
How has the gospel strengthened your family?
I think having the gospel as the center of our family relationship helps a lot. It makes our family closer because we can talk about and apply the gospel.
Whitney Harrison, 16, South Dakota
The gospel really is based upon families. The gospel teaches that families are really important and give life a good structure. So the gospel does help strengthen our family.
Sebastian D., 14, Georgia
Be Patient with Your Parents
“Be patient with your parents. They love you so deeply. They are emotionally involved with you, and they may become too vigorous as they set their guidelines for you to follow. But be patient. Remember, they are involved in a big do-it-yourself child-raising project, and this is their first time through. They have never raised a child just like you before.
“Give them the right to misunderstand and to make a mistake or two. They have accorded you that right. Recognize their authority. Be grateful for their discipline. Such discipline may set you on the path to greatness.
“Be open with your parents. Communicate with them. Discuss with them your problems.”
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “You’re in the Driver’s Seat,” New Era, June 2004, 9.
Thank Your Parents
“Be thankful to your parents, who care so very much about you and who have worked so very hard to provide for you. Let them know that you are grateful. Say thank you to your mother and your father.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” New Era, Jan. 2001, 8.
Help Improve Your Relationship with Your Parents
Having problems in your relationship with your parents? The New Era has printed numerous articles on this topic. To find out more, try reading some of these at newera.lds.org:
Questions and Answers, New Era, Feb. 2008, 14. (Sometimes my mom and I don’t get along. We say things we shouldn’t and end up with hurt feelings. I pray to love her, but the good feelings last only so long. What can I do to improve our relationship?)
Questions and Answers, New Era, Feb. 2004, 16. (What can I do to stay close to my dad when we’re both so busy?)
Questions and Answers, New Era, Jan. 2003, 17. (I argue with my parents all the time. I love them, but we just don’t seem to get along. What can I do?)
Shanna Butler, “How to Talk to Your Parents,” New Era, June 2005, 30.
Gordon B. Hinckley, Words of the Prophet: “Love at Home,” New Era, Oct. 1999, 4.
Larry A. Hiller, “The Truth about Parents,” New Era, June 1991, 23.
JeaNette Goates Smith, “Declaring Your Independence,” New Era, Mar. 1990, 49.
How well do you know your mom and dad? Take a quiz at www.newera.lds.org.
Photographs by Matthew Reier