Saturday, October 29, 2016

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 This leads to anti-social behavior, withdrawn children, and delinquent behaviors.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.

No comments:

Post a Comment