Q&A: Questions and Answers


“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?”

New Era

That’s great that you want to improve your relationship with your mother. A good relationship with her will be a blessing. But a good relationship doesn’t mean you will agree with her on everything. And that’s OK. What isn’t OK is hurting one another as you express your differences of opinion.

As a first step to improve your relationship with your mom, try to understand her. That will be hard to do when you have hurt feelings, so talk when you are both calm. You could start by reading this article together and then talking about the issues you argue about—one issue at a time. When you have understood her, take your turn to share your thoughts and feelings, without accusing her.

You and your mom could even agree on a few basic rules such as speaking kindly, talking about things before they become a huge issue, and taking turns listening to one another. The Lord taught, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1), and, “Let one speak at a time and let all listen” (D&C 88:122). The Spirit leaves when there’s contention—doing these things will help keep the Spirit with you.

Also, take an honest look at yourself. What are you doing that is keeping you from having a better relationship with your mother? Are you obeying the family rules? Do you need to open up more? Do you need to be more respectful?

Families are important to Heavenly Father, so prayer will help. You can pray for a change of heart toward your mom. Thankfully, we can become better people with the Lord’s help. With a change of heart, you can talk to your mom with more love and understanding, and then she may be more likely to talk to you that way too.

You can pray to see her good qualities. Compliment her. Tell her you love her. Thank her for the things she has done for you.

You can also pray for humility. Being humble will help you see that your mom really does care about you, that it’s important to listen to her, and that she is saying things that could help you. Being humble will help you see that what is right is more important than who is right.

Finally, remember that the Lord has asked parents to guide and teach their children, and He has asked children to honor their parents. Keep this in mind, especially when your mother talks to you about family rules or right and wrong.

In time, if you are prayerful and loving and try to honor your mother, your relationship with her will improve.

Readers

Continue to pray to love your mom, and pray that Heavenly Father will help you keep your thoughts and words positive and uplifting. If you want loving feelings to last, you need to develop “the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47). When I have trouble getting along with a missionary companion, I have found that serving him helps me develop charity toward him and improves our relationship.

Elder Toby Pontious, 21, California Arcadia Mission

Do things that will let your mother know that you love her and that she is important to you. Help her with chores. Invite her to come with you to a fun activity. Be humble, and always pray to our Heavenly Father for her. The most important thing is to say, “I’m sorry.”

Gena G., 19, Basilan, Philippines

I recently learned some things that help me not to fight with my mother. I learned that a hard word arouses anger, but a loving word can resolve the problem or at least improve it. I learned that a mother is always “right,” for even when she errs, she is trying to do the best for her child. Pray to have the Spirit, and this will become easier.

Fernando V., 18, São Paulo, Brazil

One day I talked back to my mother. Each of us yelled at the other. Our words were hurtful. Later, I opened my scriptures and read about love. I decided to ask my mother to forgive me. She had left, and when she returned, she put a note on my pillow. She said she was sorry. She just expected me to help her more with household chores. After reading her message, I hurried to tell my mother how sorry I was and how much I loved her, while giving her a big hug. It was a wonderful moment. Since that time, the message of love revealed to me in the scriptures has stayed with me, and I have tried to avoid quarreling by speaking to her with kindness. Tell your mother you love her, and she will do the same. Control yourself when something she does irritates you, and instead think about all of her good qualities. Seek to know what she expects of you. I am certain that by your doing this, the situation will resolve itself.

Raquel L., 21, Bourgogne, France

Pick a day to go out for a mother-daughter day. Spend the day together, doing anything that will help you see the good qualities in each other. Tell her how much you love her. Soon you will start to agree more and find things you have in common.

Lydia H., 14, Iowa

I didn’t want my conversations with my mother to always end with an argument, so I decided to change how I communicated. I tried to say a prayer before we were about to engage in a fight. I also tried to think ahead about what to say or not say. My mother and I have been getting along much better ever since.

Lin H., 17, Taichung, Taiwan

Try spending quality time with your mom. Do something you both enjoy, something where you can interact with each other. Or try something new so you can both learn it together. Also, put yourself in her shoes. She might be under stress. Ask her how her day went. Most of all, keep praying.

Kyelee S., 12, Utah

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

  • Talk to your mother when you are both calm, and try to understand her.

  • Make sure the Holy Ghost can be with you and your mother as you talk.

  • Think about what you could change in yourself to have a better relationship with her.

  • Pray for humility, charity, and a change of heart.

The New Era’s response assumes that you and your mother are not abusive to one another. If abuse is involved, please talk to your bishop or branch president.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“You are precious to your parents. You may not think that sometimes, when you get a little careless about what you think of your father and your mother. All of their hopes and dreams rest in you. They pray for you. They worry about you. They think of you. They love you. Be good to your parents. Treat them with love and respect and kindness. It won’t hurt you once in a while to tell them that you love them.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 4.

Next Question

“I’m afraid that someone might offer me alcohol or drugs. I don’t like to say no to people or make them mad at me. How can I make sure I won’t give in?”

Send your answer by March 15, 2008, to:

New Era, Questions & Answers 3/08
50 E. North Temple St., Rm. 2420
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA

The following information and permission must be included in your e-mail or letter:

FULL NAME

BIRTH DATE

WARD (or branch)

STAKE (or district)

I grant permission to print response and photo:

SIGNATURE

PARENT’S SIGNATURE (if you are under 18)

Photograph by Christina Smith, posed by models