“Some of my friends say they don’t like their parents. They ask me how I can love my parents. What do I say?”09249_000_006
The teen years are a time to develop your independence and yet remain close to your parents so that you can benefit from their wisdom and experience. Some teens try to become too independent too quickly, while their parents are still trying to give them guidance. This can cause some friction. These teens might rebel because they feel like their parents are holding them back. They probably love their parents but don’t want to feel like their parents are controlling their lives so much.
Try to help these friends see that they need to find a balance between becoming independent and relying on their parents. Help them see that liking their parents doesn’t mean they can’t grow up. Part of growing up is learning how to keep good relationships with important people, including parents. If it’s appropriate, you may even talk to your friends about why God commanded children to honor and obey their parents (see Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1–3).
You could also share some of the ways you keep a good relationship with your parents. Maybe you’re good at appreciating the things they do for you. Or maybe you’re good at understanding that family rules are evidence that your parents love you. Lastly, remind your friends that a good relationship with their parents can be a blessing for the rest of their lives.
Tell them that their parents understand them more than they think. Their parents care for them. All parents used to be kids and had some of the same problems then that the youth do growing up in this time. You can explain that it is also a commandment to honor our parents. By listening, respecting, and obeying your parents, you can gain a stronger relationship and grow to love them more.
Ethan S., 14, Arizona
Parents Are Trying to Help
I get along well with my parents. However, sometimes I don’t agree with my dad, but I know he still loves me. My dad is trying to teach me to be a better person. My dad is a convert to the Church and had a different kind of lifestyle than we do now. He doesn’t want me to make the same mistakes he made before he joined the Church. He wants me to realize the difference between worldly pleasures and eternal happiness. So even though your friends might think their parents are being hard on them, they are just trying to help them stay strong and make good decisions.
Makenzie G., 16, Massachusetts
Think of Parents’ Strengths
It’s a tragedy that so many children dislike their parents. I won’t pretend that I too am not guilty of sometimes becoming frustrated with my parents. When I do, I sit down and start writing down what it is about my parents that’s making me so upset. Next, I contrast these downsides with my parents’ strengths. Within a few minutes, I find that I’m reminiscing about my childhood, which my parents worked to ensure was a great one. I love my parents, and I know that there are probably sacrifices that they’ve made for me that I will never even be aware of.
Misty M., 17, Arizona
I would say that I can think about how grateful I am for them. They loved and cared for me since I was born—showing me the greatest compassion in my life. Some days you can feel that you don’t like or respect your parents much. I always pray for strength, and I always go forward with a smile. Tell your friends that simple gestures will mean a lot to your parents—things like saying, “Good morning,” “I love you,” or “Thank you.” These things will help them bond better with their mum and dad.
Matthew Y., 13, New Zealand
Set an Example
Let your friends know that you realize your parents aren’t perfect but you love them anyway. You could also set an example for your friends by the love you show to your own parents and the relationship that you have with them. No one wants to have a terrible relationship with his or her parents. Your example in showing love towards your own parents could help your friends show a better attitude to their own parents.
Rachel R., 14, Georgia
Think of Good Things Parents Do
I think you should first think of all the good things about your parents. For example, you could think of ways they’ve helped you with everyday life. My parents help me with problems like schoolwork and looking after me when I need it most. Another good thing to think about is that maybe your friends just don’t know their parents like they think they do.
Bennett W., 13, Florida
Try to Understand Parents
I hear all the time at school that youth don’t like their parents for one reason or another. I would reply and say: I love my parents because I know they want to help me make good decisions. They may sometimes be embarrassing, but I know they mean me no harm. They love me, and that is how they show their love. It also helps if you get to know them and understand the reason why they may keep you from doing certain things.
Amy W., 13, Utah
Families Are a Support
Heavenly Father put us in families because He knew we would need an immediate support system. You can tell your friends that you love your parents because you know they love you! Although at times it may seem like parents are strict, they are looking out for our best interests because they love us.
Annie W., 18, Arizona
Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.
Remember with Honor
“Here is my counsel to children. The Lord gave you a commandment with a promise: ‘Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land.’ It is the only one of the Ten Commandments with a promise. You may not have parents that are living. In some cases, you may not feel that your parents are worthy of the honor and respect of their children. You may not even have ever known them. But you owe them life. And in every case, even if your life is not lengthened, its quality will be improved simply by remembering your parents with honor.”
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “Our Perfect Example,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 73.
“I like family home evening, but my brother and sister seem not to like it, and they make it difficult for everyone. What can our family do?”
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