Category Archives: parenting

An interview with my parents

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I was raised in a great home with loving parents who taught me the gospel and helped my to become the person that I am today.  My parents weren’t strict, but I knew what was expected of me.  They were always there to guide me and help me when I needed them.  For my class, I chose to interview my parents about their parenting style.

What influenced your parenting style

  • Our love for our children and our desire to raise our children to love the gospel, develop a testimony and live the commandments.  We also raised our children the way that Dad was raised.  Not too strict, but everyone knew the rules.

What is your parenting style?

  • Not overly strict, but our children always knew what we expected of them.  We wanted our children to have fun and we tried not to get too serious.  We allowed our children to learn from their mistakes, but we were always there to give direction and help them through.
  • Mom:  I learned from my mother that it is OK to make mistakes and I tried to be that way as a mother too.  To be patient with my children and allow them to make mistakes.

What were your objectives as parents?

  • We wanted to raise our children to become strong and independent adults.  We wanted to raise kids that would grow to be active in the church, serve missions, be married in the temple, be educated, develop good life skills and be able to raise families of their own.  We wanted our boys to be worthy priesthood holders.  We wanted our children to set good goals and be surrounded by positive peer pressures.

How do you believe that you followed your own ideal?

  • We feel like we did a pretty good job.  As parents, we always saw eye to eye on parenting.  We were on the same page.  Our children have all grown to become adults that we are very proud of.

What were your greatest challenges as parents?

  • Dad: Not showing enough love and affection.  I felt like I didn’t give enough hugs or tell my kids that I loved them.  I didn’t come from an overly affectionate home, so that didn’t come naturally.  (For the record, I always knew that my dad loved us…without a doubt!)
  • Mom: It was challenging to not always know what to do.  It was also a challenge as a mother to feel like there were never enough hours to get everything done.

What are your greatest joys as parents?

  • Dad: We have 5 of them! (His children)
  • Seeing our children grow to be successful adults and having families of their own and watching them do the same things with their children.  We are blessed with our grandchildren and they bring us joy.  Our children all had good friends, good values and good education.  Looking back we can see all the blessings that have come to our children through prayer.  It brings us joy to see our children progress through their covenants of baptism and temple marriage and to see our sons as worthy priesthood holders.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

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Reflections on parenting

I have found that my parenting style often times falls into each of the three parenting styles.  Sometimes I am coercive, sometimes I am too passive and other times I am authoritative.  I would rate my effectiveness as a parent as pretty good with some room for improvement.  I encourage my children to be independent.  I tell them what needs to be done, and then I try to let them decide for themselves how that will happen.  For example, with my 13 year old, he needs to practice the trumpet for 90 minutes per week for homework.  I let him pick the days that he wants to practice and the amount of time he needs to each day to meet the requirement, then I let him do it.  We try to do the same thing with chores by giving a time that they need to be done so the children can work on them as they choose.  I try to point out the good things that my kids do.  I also try to apologize when I have been too harsh.  We read scriptures each night as a family and talk about how our days went.  We always tuck our kids into bed each night and most of the time it is a positive experience were we hug and kiss our children and tell them how proud we are of them.  I try to talk to my kids about problems that we are having in the home, but sometimes I scold or reprimand for too long and I am often too quick to anger and forget to give my children the benefit of the doubt.

I can improve my parenting by:

  • keeping my cool and giving my children the benefit of the doubt.
  •  giving my children choices and involving them in the rule making and decision of consequences.
  • acting without reacting.
  • modeling respect.
  • Not being permissive.  Sometimes I don’t want to get into power struggles with my toddler, so I become too permissive.  I need to do better at giving him choices and following through with leading him to make a choice.
  • Be explaining why we are saying or making the decisions so that they can learn and understand.

My husband and I also discussed that we want to make sure that each month we do something together as a family.  Spend the day going on a hike or bike ride or something where we spend a good portion of the day having a shared experience versus working in the home all day and each person doing their own thing.

Christlike parenting

According to Glenn Latham, a professor of education at Utah State University, the golden rule for parents is that if we want to strengthen desirable behavior, then we do it through positive reinforcement.

He teaches that the our tendency is to coerce.  Coercion is compelling others to behave the way we want them to behave; to nullify will.  We do this, because it appears to work, but he teaches us that what it does is creates compliance, but compliance is not change.

According to professor Latham, the fruits of coercion are:

  1. escape
  2. avoid
  3. counter-coerce (get even)

Risks of compliance:

  • Drugs
  • alcohol
  • pornography
  • school failure
  • promiscuity
  • etc

The child often times turns to these kinds of behavior to “get even”.

I love this quote by Elder Nelson.

“Each mother and father should lay aside selfish interests and avoid any thought of hypocrisy, physical force, or evil speaking. Parents soon learn that each child has an inborn yearning to be free. Each individual wants to make his or her own way. No one wants to be restrained, even by a well-intentioned parent. But all of us can cling to the Lord”–Russell M. Nelson, “Set in Order Thy House,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 70

I have thought about this in relation to the gospel.  Our Heavenly Father has set a perfect example of parenting for us.  He does not coerce.  He blesses us when we do what he asks.  Isn’t this the golden rule of parenting as defined by Professor Latham?  We strengthen positive behavior through positive reinforcement.

How can we become more Christ-like in our parenting? Professor Latham teaches that Christ-like parenting is:

  1. free of reviling
  2. rich in nurturing
  3. completely non-reactive

Latham’s measure of a good parent

  1. Teach children the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  2. Be a living example
  3. Create a safe, positive, happy, non-coercive, non-abusive environment.
  4. Allow children to exercise moral agency and let consequences do the teaching.
  5. Never give up!  Pray for your children continually
  6. Continually learn and apply more effective parenting
  7. rise above misbehavior of children
  8. Place parenting above all earthly endeavors.

This counsel is right in line with the teachings of the prophets and other church leaders.  If we want to be Christlike in our parenting, we must stay far away from coercion.  I have also learned that we cannot underestimate our potential to set a good example of how to behave for our children.  If we are living our lives as we have been commanded to, then our children will notice.  The opposite is true as well.  We cannot teach gospel truths without fully committing to living them.  I have also come to realize that Heavenly Father knows our children perfectly.  He will give us guidance in our parenting if we will seek it.  I believe that the way to avoid coercion is through prayer.

“It is impossible to overestimate the influence of parents who understand the hearts of their children. Research shows that during the most important transitions of life—including those periods when youth are most likely to drift away from the Church—the greatest influence does not come from an interview with the bishop or some other leader but from the regular, warm, friendly, caring interaction with parents.”–Robert D. Hales, “Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation,” Ensign, May 2010, 95

“The account in 3 Nephi can help us bring our children to Him because it gives us a pattern to follow. First, we must love the Lord with all our hearts, and we must love our children. Second, we must become a worthy example to them by continually seeking the Lord and striving to live the gospel. Third, we must teach our children the gospel and how to live its teachings.”–Cheryl C. Lant, “That Our Children Might See the Face of the Savior,” Ensign, May 2010, 82

You can watch Professor Latham’s lecture here.

Take this quiz to find out what your parenting style is.