5 Tips for Having Serious Gospel Discussions with Your Kids

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teen bible outside
via Unsplash

Let’s face it—we have all kinds of conversations with our children throughout the course of the day but sometimes it can still be awkward bringing up deeper gospel topics if it’s not something we are accustomed to doing. However, in a world where messages of all kinds (oftentimes contrary to our beliefs) are being conveyed to our families via various forms of media, it is even more important to have frequent discussions about gospel truths with our kids. Here are a few tips for parents needing guidance on how to successfully navigate gospel topics:

1. Spontaneity

family dinner
via Pixabay
Sometimes we feel like in order to discuss something really serious, we have to set aside a special time, put on our Sunday clothes, and sit stiffly in a job-interview type format. This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially when dealing with our children. Most of the time, a message is best received when our guard is down and we feel comfortable. This means you might jump into a conversation about temple marriage or how far away Kolob is while you are on a road trip, on the back porch looking at the sunset, or over a late-night bowl of ice cream. Elder Tad Callister mentions, “I remember the gospel questions and discussions at the dinner table.” So don’t underestimate the power of spontaneity—the Spirit will follow you right into the impromptu discussion and help the message penetrate your child’s heart.

2. Let Them Have Doubts

Doubts (and questions) can be a means strengthening faith, not diminishing it. Terryl Givens says, “Doubt, for us, leads to the capacity to ask genuine questions, and a genuine question is a question born out of sincerity and a yearning to know” (How Doubt Can Actually Strengthen Your Faith).

In a nutshell, don’t shut down your child’s desire to express their doubts. Brushing aside questions is, in fact, one way to prevent your child from feeling safe enough to make more inquiries. And since adolescence is such a crucial time for them to develop a testimony, it is even more important for you to treat their questions with care.

3. Search for Answers Together

mother and child study together

In the spirit of addressing, not ignoring questions, it is extremely important to show your child that you don’t even have all the answers. Why? Because then it will give you the opportunity to demonstrate true gospel study and teach the art of pondering. One writer also acknowledges: “The desire to ask questions and seek further knowledge is a divine attribute. It’s what led a young boy into a grove of trees to ask about which church was right” (How Questioning Strengthened My Faith Instead of My Doubts). When your children observe you seeking answers in scripture and through prayer and fasting, rather than just consulting Google, they will see a pattern that will serve them well throughout life.

4. “Perfect Love Casteth Out All Fear”

Mother and children sitting on a bench

You and your child may not always see eye-to-eye on every gospel issue, especially as they get older. But this is a great opportunity for you to express love and compassion, even when opinions differ. Maintaining a close relationship, no matter what, will help your children see that you value them and will motivate them to come to you when they are confused or need help dealing with spiritual matters.

5. Identify the Presence of the Holy Ghost

father son discussion sunset
via Pixabay

No matter how your discussion ends, whether with more questions or all the answers, your child will feel comforted knowing that the Holy Ghost guides us when we allow it to. When we indicate that our “compass” for the discussion has been the Spirit, our children will mentally “take note.” Over time, this principle will become an anchor in their lives and provide spiritual security in an increasingly spiritually transient world.

Do you have any great tips for talking with your children about the gospel? Share in the comments below.

Jasmine has degrees in Spanish and International Relations from BYU and has always had a love for writing ever since she penned her first haiku at age 9. She and her husband, Shawn, are the the parents of 8 children, who keep her very busy when she is not writing for Third Hour.