Questions and Answers


“I’ve never been really close to my dad. Whenever I am around him, I tend to get grumpy and short-tempered. What can I do to be closer to him?”

It is difficult when you don’t have the kind of relationship you want with a parent. The unfortunate thing is that you both may have fallen into habits regarding how you treat each other. If you want things to change, you’ll have to be brave and try some new approaches.

First, it might be helpful to sit down and write a list of all the good things you admire about your dad. This will help you realize some things you may not have thought about.

Then, start some new habits. For example, when your dad gets home from work, make an effort to greet him pleasantly every day. It may take some time for him to know to expect this from you. Offer to help with jobs around the house. Make an effort to talk to your dad more. It may be a while before things change in your relationship, but being respectful and kind to both your parents will bring positive results.

With the Lord’s help and your own personal courage, you are capable of changing your side of the relationship with your father. If you do everything you should do, then you can be confident that you have made every effort to follow the scriptural encouragement to honor your father and your mother.

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

The Savior set an example for us to honor our parents, and everyone needs to do so for a happier life. Also, our parents have changed diapers, made meals, lost hours of sleep, and done countless other things for us. The least we can do is honor them by showing kindness and obedience.

Katelyn H., 15, Arizona, USA

Make It a Matter of Prayer

Pray to your Heavenly Father often. Ask for inspiration as to how you can become closer to your father. Also, make an effort to reach out to your dad. Show him that you love him.

Alan D., 16, North Carolina, USA

Help Him Out

You can be more active in family activities. Help your dad with work around the house. And pray to Heavenly Father for the help and guidance you might need.

Kasidee R., 14, Texas, USA

Just Talk to Him

Just talk to your dad. Ask him how his day went, and let him know you care. You can also pray for both of your hearts to be softened so that it will be easier to get along with each other. I’m sure he wants to be closer to you just as much.

Shelby T., 16, California, USA

Do Things Together

My best advice is just to do an activity that you and your dad like. For example, my dad and I love football, and that is the best time for me to get closer to him and talk to him about other things in my life.

Jeffrey O., 19, London, England

Look for the Good

What I do is look at the good things in him and explain to him some of the things that are bothering me when we don’t get along. As I have been doing those things, our relationship has been getting so much better. I love my dad and am glad to have him around.

Autumn M., 13, Alaska, USA

Learn about Each Other

Create conversations with your dad, and participate in fun activities you both enjoy. Ask each other questions to keep in touch and learn more about each other. You could also explain to your dad how you feel so that he can make it a point to become closer to you and help you become closer to him. If you lack guidance and are not sure what to do, you can always ask your Heavenly Father for help in your prayers, and if you have faith, you will receive answers.

Todd H., 15, Connecticut, USA

Give Your Time

Give your father one of the greatest gifts we can give—time! Find an activity you both enjoy and spend some time together doing it—just the two of you. Spending one-on-one time with your father will strengthen your relationship with him. Yes, it does require sacrifice, but it will be worth it.

Morgan A., 17, Utah, USA

Set Aside Time Together

My father and I set apart a specific time we can spend together. We cancel everything to do this. In Personal Progress (Divine Nature value experience 3) there is an experience to strengthen a relationship with a family member for two weeks. You could always try that.

Mikaylee G., 15, Utah, USA

Get Interested

Take an interest in what your father does. Ask questions about his life when he was your age. Try to see things through his eyes. If you strive to get to know him and spend more time with him, your relationship will grow.

Cason S., 17, Arizona, USA

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

Parents Truly Care

Elder Robert D. Hales

“No parent on earth is perfect. In fact, children are very understanding when they sense and feel that parents truly care and are attempting to be the best they can be. …

“Certainly parents will make mistakes in their parenting process, but through humility, faith, prayer, and study, each person can learn a better way and in so doing bless the lives of family members now and teach correct traditions for the generations that follow.”

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “How Will Our Children Remember Us?” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 9–10.

Next Question

“I have a hard time respecting one of my schoolteachers. What should I do?”

Send your answer by December 15, 2011.

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Responses may be edited for length or clarity.