Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gospel Based Parenting

Cardston Temple, May 2017
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 and will be very influenced by their peers, they can be 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! The text book, “Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives” 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.

The book “Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate 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" (Hawkins, et al). We have the opportunity to help our kids develop the positive traits we desire for them and to help them overcome undesirable tendencies. In doing this we can teach our children to fly.

Flying Lessons 2017
When we are close to each of our children the Lord will bless us with "a spiritual early warning system" (Hawkins et al) 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.

In Richard B. Miller’s address to at the BYU Conference on Family Life he states, “In healthy, well-functioning families, there is a clear hierarchy between parents and children… Parents should not be harsh, domineering or dictatorial, but they are the leaders of the family, and the children need to follow that leadership” (Miller, 2008).

Spencer W. Kimball said, “Discipline is probably one of the most important elements in which a mother and father can lead and guide and direct their children… Setting limits to what a child can do means to that child that you love him and respect him. IF you permit the child to do all the things he would like to do without any limits, that means to him that you do not care much about him” (Kimball).
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" (Hawkins, et al). 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.

About a year ago we took our kids to an indoor children's festival where Rosena fell in love with a Thomas the Train bouncy house. We decided to move on to the next section and failed to notice when Rosena left our little group to return to her beloved Thomas. In a moment of panic we put the big kids in charge of the little kids and I went to contact security. Bill went back to retrace our steps and returned shortly with Rosena in his arms. This was a fantastic teaching moment on why it's important to follow guidance from your parents in order to be safe. There were not spankings or harsh words spoken. We all embraced her and told her that we loved her. She has not disappeared like that since.
This was before she went missing.
If we counsel with our spouses and our children regularly and invite the Holy Spirit into our homes we will see success in our parenting efforts and in our family relationships.

Hawkins, A. J., Dollahite, D. C., and Draper, T. W. “Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives.

Kimball, S. W. TSWK pp. 340, 341.

Miller, R. B. (2008). “Who Is the Boss? Power Relationships in Families”. BYU. Provo, UT.

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