Q&A: Questions and Answers


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

My parents worry about me too much—where I’m going, who I’m with, when I’ll be back. I know how to take care of myself. How can I get my parents to lighten up?

New Era

Having their children grow up is often hard on parents. They love their children so much that part of them wants to keep those children close where they can be protected. At the same time, parents want their children to grow up and become independent. Yet independence brings risks. Those risks cause concern that can sometimes come across as distrust.

Rather than fight against your parents because they worry, you need to sit down and see if you can talk things out. As your parents try to follow gospel teachings, they should have your cooperation. Ephesians 6:1 [Eph. 6:1] reads, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”

Even though you feel grown up, you are not as experienced as your parents. Sometimes you’ll have a false sense of security. In other words, occasionally you don’t recognize that you’re in danger because you don’t have the experience to know just how bad things can get. Your parents have a lot more experience. They know how dangerous the world can be. But they aren’t always clear when they try to explain the dangers to you. You’ll have to trust your parents and follow their guidance even when you think they are overreacting.

One of our readers, Mary Christensen, of Safford, Arizona, wrote: “First of all, know that the reason your parents worry is only because they love you. They know how strong Satan is. They know what Satan can do, and they don’t want Satan to get the best of you. Make sure that they have reason to trust you. If you are doing what you’re supposed to, then you shouldn’t worry if they ask lots of questions.”

Also, your parents have an obligation to take care of you, both legally and spiritually. While you are in their care, they are supposed to keep you from harm and prevent you from participating in illegal or unwise activities. But more important than that, they also have the responsibility to teach you about making good and righteous choices. In fact, they are commanded to do so (see D&C 68:25). You need to listen and obey even when you don’t see things the way they see them.

As you are growing up, you can do things that help build trust between you and your parents. Keep your word exactly. Be where you say you’ll be. Come home when you say you’re coming home. Call whenever there is a change of plans. Choose good friends. As you leave the house, tell your parents where you are going.

Be grateful that you have parents who worry about you, because it means that they care.

Readers

While showing respect to your parents, you can make friendship grow on both sides. I think that if you prove to your parents that they can have confidence in you, it will be easier for you.

Anne-Julie Seube, 14 Bayonne, France

As someone who wanted to explore the wide dimensions of life, I sometimes felt like I was being caged when my mom put restrictions on me and my activities. But when I started getting involved with every activity in my branch, I realized that she’s not really restricting me but is showing her love and concern for me in helping me lead a good life.

Edison Cabuyadao Jr., 21 Ramon, Isabela, Philippines

Sometimes I feel that my parents worry about me too much also. I’ve come to realize the reason for this is that they love me and want to make sure I am safe. I wouldn’t want my parents to lighten up because I know that worrying about me means they care.

Michelle Hicken, 14 Mira Loma, California

I think our parents are always going to worry about us because we’re their children. I think we should be thankful we have parents that love us enough to look out for our safety.

Dayne L. Young, 15 Pleasant Grove, Utah

Any loving parent will be checking up on you, at least in some degree. Just do what you know you ought to and eventually they’ll trust you enough to lighten up a bit.

Mike Cornelsen, 16 Vancouver, Washington

Our parents only want us to make wise decisions in our lives and be happy. If you are open with your parents and tell them what is going on, they won’t have to worry as much about what direction you are going in life. Talk to your parents often. It will make things better for all of you.

Amanda Clark, 13 Austin, Texas

Sometimes it is much too deep for us to understand our parents, but why not try acting like you really can take care of yourself by accepting their counsel, appreciating their concerns, and honoring them. And most important, give them your trust and show them you love them.

Sister Maria Cecilia Regidor Silos, 22 Philippines Cagayan de Oro Mission

My parents worry too. It is a crazy world out there, and they are scared for you. You don’t know everything yet; you are still learning. Just get used to telling them where you are going and what you’re doing. They’ll feel better, and you will too.

April Carrott, 14 Palmdale, California

When your parents want to know what you’re doing and where you’re going, they only do it because they love you. Even though it might seem like a pain, they want to know because they don’t want anything to happen to you.

Rachel Fairbourn, 13 Hooper, Utah

[photo] Photography by Welden Andersen. Posed by models.

[illustration] To develop trust, each person needs to be committed to the same righteous goals. By including the Lord in your decisions, you can be guided by One who cares for you. Wise King Solomon advises us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5–6). (Painting Solomon Dedicating the Temple by Gladstone Solomon. © Providence Lithograph Co.)