Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Baby Ellie is here!

Announcement, Announcement, Announcement!!!
It got to be Ellie's due date and I still didn't have a belly picture, so we got all dolled up...
This is Ellie on her due date. I usually have my babies a few days early, but Ellie decided to come on her own schedule.
 Ellie was born an hour and a half after her due date ended. By the way, she would have been born on Bill's birthday if she had come when she was supposed to. That was not her plan. 
(Happy Birthday Daddy! We all love you!)

 Ellie decided that Obi's birthday's are much more exciting and she wants to be a part of that day FOR SURE! She urges you to look at the difference between birthday desert choices. She votes ice cream cake, not pies!
 Ellie is our only baby born with HAIR, and dark brown hair to boot. Isn't she a chunky doll?
Jedi has decided that THIS baby is HIS baby. He loves her, he kisses her, he pets her, he doesn't want to put her down. Today when he was holding her Liam touched her hair to show Jedi how soft it was. Jedi glared at him and said, "Don't touch her again Liam!"
We are all stoked to have this little angel in our lives. She is a dream baby.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

I'm sorry!!!! I forgive you!!!!

Noise from boys room: WHACK! SLAM! BIFF! POW!
Some poor unfortunate child that lives here: "WHAAAAAAAAA!"
Me: "Say sorry, RIGHT NOW!"

In case you can't tell, the one on the left is the unrelenting, unapologizing one. The one on the right is the unfortunate one (insert winky face here) This was our attempt at at the forgiveness shirt. 

Worthington, a noted researcher on forgiveness wrote, "Forgiveness does not occur in a relationship. It occurs within the forgiver" (p. 201). As you can see from our forgiveness shirt, this is true. Forcing someone to apologize does not make the problem better. Forcing someone to forgive is ridiculous. Yes, we should forgive right away, but sometimes the wound is still fresh, sometimes the person who needs to be forgiven is still pinching you (as Ezra pointed out is happening in the forgiveness shirt picture), and sometimes you just need time to truly forgive. 

Don't worry, they actually do really love each other.

Have you ever been hurt by someone who decided not to apologize, but just went on living life as if nothing ever happened? I have. In those cases I just forgive (although this is much easier said than done) and move on as well. I hate confrontation. So, if this works, why should we forgive and apologize anyway?

Well, for starters mental health experts believe that it is not possible "to address emotional and physical well-being without considering the relevance of repentance and forgiveness" (p. 202). Even King Benjamin said "Salvation cometh to none . . . except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Mosiah 3:12). David O. McKay said that nothing is more essential to salvation than the principle of repentance and Dallin H. Oaks defined repentance as transformation. Jesus himself taught that we will forgive and we must forgive others to be forgiven.

Battle and Miller said that people who forgive have better emotional and physical health. In contrast, bottling your forgiveness in can lead to emotional stress and other health risks (p. 202).

Also, "apologies facilitate forgiveness, and forgiveness motivates repentance. In families, repentance and forgiveness blend into an interactive process that is strengthened by family members commitment to each other" (p. 201).

So, what's the best way to apologize? Lazare (2004) said that successful apologies include:
a) an accurate acknowledgment of the offense
b) an appropriate expression of regret, remorse,or sorrow
c) a suitable offer of repayment or restitution, and
d) a pledge for behavior reform to ensure that the offense is not repeated (p. 204).

While the offended will feel better with a genuine apology they may still feel better with an inadequate apology than none (p. 204).

When we are the ones who need to apologize what can we do? In the Gospel Principles manual of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there is an effective repentance process outlined:
1. Recognize the sin (admit wrong doing)
2. Feel sorrow for the sin.
3. Forsake the sin (stop committing it and promise to never do it again)
4. Confess (to the Lord and when appropriate to the Bishop of our ward) and
5. Make restitution (p. 205).

Also, the offender must forgive him or herself, which is often harder than being forgiven by the victim.

Just as truly feeling remorse and effectively apologizing is important, "Genuine forgiveness is a process, not a product" (p. 205). It's hard. It takes time. It needs to be voluntary and should give "meaning to the wound a free the injured person from bitterness and resentment" (p. 205).

Repentance and forgiveness are gifts from God and are made possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gracefully Growing in Marriage

This was the 60th reunion of my Grandma and Grandpa 4 years ago. In this picture Rosena is just a bun in the oven and Jedi is watching from Heaven. Also missing are Crystal's husband, Darren and my other nephew Dallas.

Years ago I read "Tuesday's with Morrie" a story about a man who spend some quality time with an older gentleman. One of their topics is marriage and here is something I loved from that:

Morrie says, If you don't respect the other person [in marriage] you're gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don't know how to compromise, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can't talk openly about what does on between you, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don't have a common set of values in life, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike. And the vest on of those values? Your belief in the importance of your marriage" (Albom, 1997, 149, italics in original).


In a recent blog post I shared a summary of key processes that underlie successful marriage, you can review here. As human beings, the attachment theory believes, that we are hardwired with a driving force to seek contact and connect with others (p. 89). As older people progress through life they have made these connections. Because of their potential for loss and unresolved conflict they may be more "vulnerable to isolation, distance, and long-standing wounds in their marital relationships" (p. 89). BUT, older coupes who have safe and secure marital relationships will adapt better to the challenges of later life and will learn to thrive through old age.

These healthfully attached relationships are able to endure the trials of loss, aging bodies, loss of energy, and other ails than those who may be alone or in unhealthy marriages.

Here are some things I love about my Grandparents:

  • They are still living life, they join us for Canada Day Parades, sometimes they are even on the floats, and they have an awesome BBQ in their backyard every year.
  • They love to visit with us and share fun stories. Grandma often makes up stories about ducks that have morals and Grandpa tells stories of his own experiences in life.
  • They try to make it to every baptism and baby blessing of each of my children (they used to have to travel to Arizona and Nevada but now we live close enough that the drives are shorter).
  • They love each other, support each other, and even smooch for the camera!
  • They love their kids and grand kids and try to support them in ways that they can.
  • They are funny.
  • They ask for help when they need it.

Grandma and Grandpa, thanks for being such good examples in my life and in your children's, grand children's, and great grand children's. Love you so much!

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Adoption Appreciation


In my recent studies I came across a chapter in my text book about Adoption. I am someone who was personally adopted and my parents adopted two other sibling sets so I have not only been adopted but I have seen adoption. I have also seen the other side of adoption. The hard time where the biological or birth mother "may wonder what would be best for herself and for the baby; whom she should tell about her situation and when; and whether she should choose to keep the child and rear it herself, [or] place the child for adoption" (p. 162).

Adoption is probably one of the hardest choices a mother would ever have to make. Pregnancy is not easy, it comes with aches and pains, but it also comes with beauty and grace. When I'm pregnant I know that there will be a beautiful baby for me to cuddle with when it's all over. I can't imagine having to hand that precious baby over at the end of the pregnancy, or carrying the baby the whole time knowing that I would essentially give them to someone else to love. Adoption is such an unselfish decision, full of love and life, that blesses more people than you can imagine; the biological parents, the baby, the adoptive parents, and extended family and friends all around.


Here I want to share with you something personal, and I hope my own biological mother will forgive me for exposing her. I was blessed with a biological mother who wanted her baby to be healthy even though she knew that she was giving her away. She abstained from anything that might harm her baby and sought to eat healthy and be healthy.

Now, Arlene and I, although we don't share the same religion, we have the same faith in God. She must have prayed to him to know what to do, because I ended up exactly where I needed to be. Because of her faith and diligence I was given the life I had and I have been blessed with my own family.

Arlene and I are now in contact and we are blessed to share many special occasions together. God has blessed us both, and so many others, because of her loving, selfless decision.

Here's some things that you may not know about teenage birth mothers who choose to place their babies for adoption; they are more likely to graduate from high school, they tend to enjoy better employment income and "many become advocates of adoption" or "help other women through this important decision making process" (p. 164).

Arlene, I am so grateful for you and the sacrifices you made and kept on making for me and for my parents. We will always be grateful for your courage and love. I KNOW it wasn't an easy decision, but you knew it was the right one, and it was. Arlene, you are my angel. You brought me from heaven and delivered me to the angels who would raise me. You are forever in my heart.

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Family Work

Eew, that's almost a dirty phrase isn't it? It's so much easier to just wash and fold the laundry yourself. And Heaven forbid you let the little guys put away their own laundry! They get them in the wrong drawers, they unfold them, half of the clothes end up back in the laundry a few hours later!!!

Sometimes even shopping can be a chore!

Did you know that housework is also a major source of contention between the sexes? One study found that six months into marriage house hold chores and the disagreement over who should do them was the top source of conflict between husband and wife... and it remained that way even after five years!!!

So why? WHY should we teach our kids to work. Isn't it better to throw on Paw Patrol for the tiny's while you scrub the floor and the dishes? Heck, it's even easier to hire a babysitter or EVEN BETTER hire someone to do the work for you. Ya, I like that idea.

And yet, I still give my kids chores. I still teach them to sweep, mop, scrub toilets, make their own beds, change diapers, do dishes, help with dinner, babysit, and tidy. Why am I torturing myself like this?

Here's why. In today's society we believe that an ideal life is work free. This idea conflicts with what we learn in the scriptures.The Lord cursed the ground in Adam and Eve's day so that they would have to fight thorns and thistles which would cause the new couple to labor "for [their own] sake." He wanted them to have to work, to til the land, to find and provide food.


Family work also provides endless opportunities for us to find and fill our other family members needs!


It's also true that when we work together as a family we build stronger bonds. Scrubbing pots with your sister while chatting about your days can bring you closer together (unless one of them hides in the bathroom until the scrubbing is done). My kids may not admit this to you, but when I ask them what their favorite part of the day is, their answers are often "Scrubbing the floor with the family", "making dinner with Mommy", "Helping Daddy move boxes", "Helping Daddy at the dump", etc.

Here are pictures of Liam and Ezra washing, peeling, and cooking the potatoes for our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. What's really cool about these potatoes is that Ezra grew them himself, with love, from our backyard to our kitchen table. I love it.

Even the babies love to help... especially when we're baking and they get to lick the cake batter of the beaters!

Now, family work isn't all roses, as I mentioned before. W have a complainer or two in our home and while that whining is super annoying in the short term, that child is growing character and building relationships. Family work allows us to rely on divine attributes that we are trying to develop such as love, mercy, patience, submissiveness, and a willingness to sacrifice for others.

President Thomas S. Monson said, "Mothers, share household duties. It is often easier to do everything yourself than to persuade your children to help, but it is so essential for them to learn the importance of ding their share".

Small tasks allow small kids to help as well. Hand a child a duster, teach them to fold wash cloths, scrub walls, put the silverware away, etc. There are so many little things that need to get done, there should be something fitting for each child. Insisting that children help when they would rather no is a way of telling them that they are needed, and essential in making the family function.

So, that's why our family works together. If you walk by on the right day you might even see my boys beating bathroom mats with a broom to get the dust out, or pulling weeds. And of course you may even see a couple cuties in princess aprons!

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan UJ. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really reccommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

When to stick it out...

Divorce is happening all around us, it's even happening in my little LDS town. In fact, one estimate is that 25-30% of LDS couples who regularly attend church experience a divorce.

President James E. Faust spoke of divorce and said that he believed that there are definitely cases that a divorce or separation should occur.

He says, "In my opinion, "just cause" should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship with is destructive of a person's dignity as a human being.

At the same time, I have strong feelings about what is not provocation for breaking the sacred covenants of marriage. Surely it is not simply "mental distress" nor "personality differences," nor "having grown apart," nor "having fallen out of love." This is especially so where there are children."

There are three major things that President Faust mentioned that are good reason for divorce:
Prolonged Problems - meaning that the couple has had these problems for quite a long time. It is not a hasty decision that has been made.
Irredeemable relationship - which means that they have tried and failed to reconcile differences. This may even mean separating for a time, while one spouse works through the problems on their own, and
Destruction of Human Dignity - if your spouse continues to cheat on you, apologize, cheat, apologize, and cheat again that is wearing. If a spouse is abusive you begin to believe that you are less than you really are. These are good reasons to look at getting out.

Marriage professionals believe that the decision to divorce should not be a quick decision. They encourage couples contemplating divorce to do everything in their power to correct the problems, including dumping the computer in the garbage if internet pornography is a problem, seeking marital counseling, or even moving if needed.

Marriage is hard, separation is hard, divorce is hard. While many children who experience a divorce are resilient they are still at about twice the risk for various social and emotional problems than kids who don't experience a divorce.

It has been said that for a young child, psychologically, "divorce is the equivalent of lifting a hundred-pound weight over the head." There is so much to process, so much change. However, when a child is witness to ongoing, high levels of marital conflict it can be even more damaging and in those cases it may be better off for the child if the parents do divorce. If a divorce really is the best thing it is highly recommended that the parents try to change as little as possible, meaning don't move the kids away from their homes or schools, try to keep as much as possible the same. Especially important is that both parents continue strong relationships with the children.

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Prayer in Marriage

"When people perceive something as sacred, it changes the way they treat it."

Wow. So now, if I apply this to my marriage and believe that my marriage is sacred, then I should, in principle, treat it as such.

A wedding ring in the secular world shows commitment, whereas a sanctified view of the wedding ring could symbolize an eternal union between man and wife.

So, how do we get on board with sanctifying our marriages? I mentioned once before Elder Bednar's talk on our marriages being a triangle between man, woman, and God.
It's that simple, a major key to viewing your marriage as sacred is to include God as a member of the relationship. How can we do that? Prayer. President Thomas S. Monson's temple sealer told him, "I can assure you that any misunderstanding that develops during the day will vanish as you pray. You simply can't pray together and retain any but the best of feeling toward one another."

Now, unfortunately there are ways that you shouldn't pray together too. For example, Hubby shouldn't offer a couple prayer (together) that says, "Please bless Dear Wifey to get her head out of her butt and see things my way," and Wifey shouldn't offer a prayer that says, "Please God, let Hubby stop being such a ding bat and do his own laundry once in a while.

An awesome approach would be to do the opposite and instead Hubby says, "I am so grateful for Dear Wifey and appreciate that she spent the time making my lunch. I really notice and love those special touches," and Wifey could say, "I'm so grateful that Hubby is such a good provider and protector. I'm thankful that you gave me someone who loves to serve his family."

Another approach would be for Wifey to pray that God will help her understand Hubby's feelings, and even that she might be able to see him as God does, and vice versa. 

Another good time to pray is in the middle or at the beginning of a fight. Again, don't use words that would be offensive to your spouse, but pray for understanding and peace. Studies find that prayer helps couples to keep their anger in check during conflict and that it alleviates tension and helps facilitate open communication. 

God views our marriages as sacred, and we really should too. He has given us an open line of communication and He wants our marriages to succeed. Happy praying.


Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Parenting with the Gospel

The proclamation gives a fantastic and substantial list of principles and way parents should seek to establish a happy and successful family. It suggests that significant teaching is necessary to bring about the positive outcomes that each parent desires for their children. The gospel helps us to find the behaviors we want to teach and shares how to teach them.


While kids can be very influenced by their peers, they can been even more influenced by their parents. An example of this is that when parents teach their kids to avoid drugs they are less likely to use drugs, even when their best friends abuse drugs! My textbook (see bottom of the post for information) teaches that better parenting by mothers alone leads to a reduction in deviant behavior in their sons. This boost actually leads to better relationships between mom and son.


This is recommended reading for parents who want a to have a better relationship with their kids than their children's peers have with them.

As parents we should heed Brigham Young's counsel to "study our children's dispositions and temperament, and deal with them accordingly." We have the opportunity to help our kids develop the positive traits we desire for them and to help them overcome undesirable tendencies.

When we are close to each of our children the Lord will bless us with "a spiritual early warning system" which helps us as parents sense problems that may be emerging. When this happens we need to prayerfully ask for help and use deliberate intervention methods.

Latter Day prophets have counseled against the use of physical punishment with children. It is suggested that "infrequent, non abusive spanking, in the context of an otherwise warm and responsive relationship, may not cause lasting harm, but it is not likely to be a teaching moment." I have spanked my children in the past and have found this to be true. It really doesn't seem to be effective in anything except straining the relationship of myself and my child. I went to a class on parenting boys that advised that they need to be spanked to learn. The teacher suggested that girls learn differently and don't need spankings, but boys need that pain to remember lessons. Well, they remember that mom spanked them, but the bad behavior seems to be repeated. With my boys I find that explaining why it's not an appropriate behavior and coming up with different ways to deal with it are better at deterring the bad behavior in the future.

Now, what if you are not a "bubbly" or lovely mother? Are you doomed? Nope, my favorite part of Chapter 11 says, "Parents need not despair if they do not feel that they are the perfect balance of being both responsive and demanding in their parenting approach. A parent who is not "bubbly" in his or her expression of warmth, yet is appropriately demanding, can do well in child rearing, so long as that parent provides sufficient amounts of warmth so that eh child feels adequately accepted and not rejected."

To teach our kids it is suggested that we have regular family home evenings where we teach correct principles; have scripture study as the family, engage in family prayer, and participate in wholesome family activities. Create traditions for your family at holiday's and throughout the days of the week. These are the things that pull families closer together.

Fun Tradition: He who can stay in the near freezing Waterton Lake the longest wins.... Bill wins every year. He must not have feeling in his feet! (He's holding Rosena in this picture. She lasted about 3 seconds!) Hyrum lasted almost 30 seconds.

Fun tradition: Trampoline Stargazing. He who stays awake the longest wins! Bill lost!

Fun tradition: Thanksgiving Family Home Evening with the Reeve's. We sang songs, shared talents, and ate amazing food.

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


The calling of motherhood has been identified as the most ennobling endowment God could give His daughter, "as divinely called, as eternal important in its place as the priesthood itself." (J. Reuben Clark Jr).

President Spencer W. Kimball said, "Mothers have a sacred role. They are partners with God, as well as with their own husbands, first in giving birth to the Lord's spirit children, and then in rearing those children so they will serve the Lord and keep his commandments."

This was a few years ago. From Left to right, 
top row - Mosiah, Kym (that's me, the mom), Liam. 
Bottom row - Hyrum, Obi, Ezra.

My mother Joan, who adopted me at birth has been an angel in my life. A blessing from Heaven. Mom's have it rough, making rules, enforcing rules, and still being someone you can run too when you need help. She has been my shoulder to cry on. She taught me right from wrong. She taught me to pray to God for help, to attend the temple, to love others, to love children, to fight for right.... the list goes on and on. Mom has been there physically for most of my babies as well as spiritually for the ones that came when she wasn't there. She's watched my own kids in times of need and has been an amazing grandmother. I will always be grateful for the love and protection and the spiritual guidance she has given me. I will always look up to her because of her sacrifices as a mother, giving of herself freely to raise five children through adoption as her own and loving and serving as best she could.

This is my mom and I at Jedi's birth. 

I am a pretty lucky girl. As a baby my biological mother gave me up for adoption. Her choice was one made out of love for me, for my parents, and for herself. I will never, ever, be ungrateful for her choice. In fact, I will always be the opposite... extremely grateful for her choice. Because of her choice I have so many more sweet people in my life. From Arlene I have learned that sometimes the hardest choice is the best choice. I cannot imagine having to do what she did as a teenage girl. By the grace of God we have been reunited and I am blessed to call her whole family my own. Their family comes for special occasions such as baptisms, Grandpa/Grandson camp outs, Christmas, and just for fun.

This is Arlene, myself, Liam at around 6 months old, and Mattea, (Arlene's daughter and my littlest sister). This was our first meeting since she gave me to my parents at birth. What an incredible reunion.

Another special mother in my life is my sweet husband Bill's mother. She raised him right. He is tender and loving with our children and with me. He brings the light of the Lord into our home and blesses us with his Priesthood.

Marion is an example of who you should strive to be spiritually. Her testimony of the gospel is strong. Her love for her children is set in stone. She is the best visiting teacher on the planet, blessing the lives of women wherever she goes. Her laugh is so infectious and her excitement rubs off on all. There are certain movies I will only watch if she is watching, because she just makes them funnier.

Marion with her children.

So, with all these great examples I must be the best mother in the world, right? Well, no. Not really. I strive to be. I love my little's with all my heart and try to teach them to love the Lord and do what's right, but we all make mistakes.

As a boost for us mothers I will share some advice from my text book:

"A mothers private religious behaviors were a more significant influence on the quality of her parenting than the family's religious behaviors. Mothers who spent more time in these activities were more likely to feel close to their children and to be effective in providing warmth, love, and support, while setting clear and appropriate boundaries and expectations. They were also less likely to resort to physical coercion, verbal hostility, unreasonable punishing, indulgence, or psychological control - all unhealthy patterns of discipline in parenting. These findings suggest that humbly seeking for the Savior's influence and help enables us to become the kinds of mothers we desire to become" (Behling, 2010. Pg 136). So, fasting, personal prayer, scripture study, study of other religious materials, and thinking about religion are the suggestions here.

This picture includes friends and family at Ezra's baptism and Rosena's baby blessing. My three special mom's were all together and of course a special shout out to my Grandmother who raised an amazing son who is my own father. 

Mom's are awesome!

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.

Parenting with Love, Limits, and Latitude

This is us at the Salt Lake Temple. We were visiting for Bill 
and I's nephew's wedding to his sweet bride.

As I mentioned before, the Lord wants our marriages and family relationships to succeed. In fact, he gives us awesome resources, like the Proclamation to the World as guides for us. He also gives commandments, principles, and examples in our scriptures with the counsel of prophets and apostles today to help as well.

Our challenge as parents is to apply these principles from inspired sources into our family circumstances as we meet our kid's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Parenting is not easy. Some kids are harder to rear than others, maybe due to genetics, maybe inherent personality characteristics, and possibly due to spiritual personality and predispositions. So, even though a child came from the same two parents and are raised like every other child in the home, children may need different parenting techniques because of their natures.

Important Principles reiterate that we are to "rear our children in love and righteousness" first and foremost.

Although each child may need different implementations and approaches, here is a list of crucial elements each child needs (taken from Chapter 10 of my text book):

  • Love, warmth, and support
  • Clear and reasonable expectations fro competent behavior
  • Limits and boundaries with some room for negotiation and compromise
  • Reasoning and developmentally appropriate consequences and punishments for breaching established limits
  • Opportunities to perform competently and make choices
  • Absence of coercive, hostile forms of discipline, such as harsh physical punishment, love withdrawal, shaming, and inflict guilt
  • Models of appropriate behavior consistent with self-control, positive values, and positive attitudes

Three kinds of parenting discussed in my book are coercive parenting, permissive parenting, and authoritative parenting.

Coercive parenting is characterized by parents who coerce, deride, demean, diminish, put down, mock, and/or hold power over their children. Hostility is shown through spanking, yelling, criticizing, name calling, and forcing. This leads to anti-social behavior, withdrawn children, and delinquent behaviors.

Coercive parenting doesn't even have to be that extreme, it's basically just using negative force to get the action you're looking for. Often coercive parenting is used because, well, it works. When you threaten your 6 year old to "knock it off" with a waving hand indicating that he'll get a spanking if he doesn't, he usually knocks it right off. However, this leads to poorer relationships in the future.

Permissive parenting is characterized by parents who overindulge their children, or who just leave them to do their own thing. This is shirking our sacred parental duties and leads to children who don't or can't follow orders. Social science shows "that children raised by permissive parents may have greater difficulty respecting others, coping with frustration, delaying gratification for a great goal, and following through with plans" (pg. 107).

Authoritative parenting provides a positive emotional connects, provides regulation that is fair and consistent, and allows for reasonable decision making for the child's self. Some kids may need more limits, some may need more latitude (or autonomy). This style consists of three well-defined and researched characteristics: connection (love), regulation (limits), and latitude (autonomy).


Daddy and Jedi

President Hinkley said, "Every child is entitled to grow up in  a home where there is warm and secure companionship, where there is love in the family relationship, where appreciation one for another is taught and exemplified, and where God is acknowledged and His peace and blessings invoked before the family altar."

Daddy and Rosie at our mini Moroni's Quest.

Children should be treated with kindness instead of annoyance. Compassion should reign over sarcasm. Be friends with your kids. Listen to them. Talk to them. Laugh and joke. Sing. Play. Cry with them. Hug them. Praise them. Spend one-on-one time with each child.


Finding ways to help our kids learn and grow with out coercing them is one of the most challenging parts of authoritative parenting. Parents should be clear and firm about rules but should proactively explain why the rules are set. Corrective measures should be promptly applied when children do not abide by the rules.

(Here Jedi is sitting on my lap during a Pow Wow at our park. He knows that if he runs off he will get lost. He was very patient and was rewarded with play time at the new playground.) 
Rules help keep our children safe.

Kids should know the rules and the consequences. Such as, "Do not leave your toys on the floor. If you do Mommy will put them up on the shelf for several days." Or, if a teenager breaks curfew maybe their use of the family vehicle is suspended.


Kids really benefit from learning how to make appropriate choices. Giving kids the chance to make their choices that will benefit both the child and parent is a great way to achieve this. For example, letting your child choose whether they will brush their teeth or put their pajama's on first, letting them choose what kind of cereal they want, letting them choose what kind of fruit they want, etc.

Motivating our children to want to do the right thing rather than forcing them to do it is away to build relationships and build responsible people. If we explain patiently why we think something isn't right or is not a good choice we give our children the knowledge to make the right decision if they so choose.

Edited: 12/10/2016 - Ideas and quotes were enhanced by the text book Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Edited by Alan J. Hawkins, David C. Dollahite, and Thomas W. Draper. I really recommend that everyone purchase and READ this book. It's so great.