Raising Children in
Love & Righteousness
From the Family Proclamation:
"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.
Parenting and the Scriptures
"Important principles found in the scriptures and the proclamation have been taught throughout the ages to assist parents to “rear their children in love and righteousness” and adapt to child individuality. The proclamation admonishes respect for the divine and individual nature of children as parents love, teach, and guide them with an emphasis on teaching and preparing children rather than unrighteously controlling their wills." (Successful Marriages and Families: Chapter 10)
"After Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, “the first commandment that God gave . . . pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife”. Parents bringing children into this world and then rearing them in love and righteousness is essential to the great plan of happiness (Alma 42:8)."
So what does it mean to rear children in love and righteousness? In Moses 5:12 it reads: "And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters." Our wise first parents applied gospel principles by teaching their children the commandments of God. They learned all they needed to know to progress in life and fulfill their sacred responsibilities, and they found joy through these teachings!
From chapter 10 in "Successful Marriages and Families", the author explains that in order to rear children in love and righteousness and to promote optimal development, the following are crucial elements for each child. Because each child is different, each element can be individualized to each child based upon their needs and personality.
The elements are:
• Love, warmth, and support
• Clear and reasonable expectations for competent behavior
• Limits and boundaries with some room for nego-tiation and compromise
• Reasoning and developmentally appropriate con-sequences 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 with-drawal, shaming, and inflicting guilt
• Models of appropriate behavior consistent with self-control, positive values, and positive attitudes
"Living in harmony with proclamation principles maximizes the possibilities that children will make choices that help them “return to the presence of God” (Hawkins, 2012)
As we live in harmony with the Proclamation principles, Heavenly Father will guide us as we raise our children in love and righteousness. When we follow Jesus Christ and do the best that we can each day to live His teachings, we will be blessed to have His spirit guide is in all things.
"The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility" (First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1999, p. 3).
Glenn Latham's View on Solving
Problems the Christlike Way
Glenn Latham was a Professor Emeritus of education at USU. An expert in human behavior, Latham used his knowledge to help school systems and parents across the nation improve their relationships with children. Below are some principles that he taught on christlike parenting:
- Good parents teach their children the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes the broad Christian messages of honesty, decency, kindness, love of God and fellowman, and so on.
- Good parents are living examples to their children of the principles and teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Good parents create within their homes a safe, positive, happy, noncoercive, nonabusive environment that is under parental control, where the consequences for apropriate and inappropriate behavior are well understood by all and are consistently and lovingly applied.
- Good parents allow their children to exercise their moral agency, then calmly and patiently let consequences do the teaching.
- Good parents never give up; they pray for their children continually, with faith in Christ.
- Good parents are continually learning and applying better, more effective parenting skills.
- Good parents rise above the misbehavior of their children and happily and confidently get on with life and continue in the faith together.
- Good parents put parenting above all other earthly endeavors.
What does it mean to you to be a good parent?
“Well-meaning parents who have tried their best should avoid the temptation of using their children’s behavior as themeasure of their success as parents. If children’s behavior were the sole measure of good parenting, our heavenly parents would not qualify. They lost a third of their children before mortality was even available, and very probably countless more since. Remember this: Perfect parents make no mistakes; imperfect parents do. Both have children who stray.”
Parenting Styles: What are they
and how do they make a difference?
According to Positive-Parenting-Ally.com, authoritarian parents are very firm and set ideas of what's right and wrong. They tend to idealize some people while looking upon other people as failures. Authoritarian parents like structure, and it is as if there is a social hierarchy in the family. The top of the hierarchy (the authoritarian parent) have full authority and are to be behaved. They have high expectations of children's behavior and bad behavior will be punished. Punishments may include: threats, guilt induction, physical spanking, and so on. Emotions will rarely be shown in this authoritarian parenting style.
The authoritative parent is warm, responsive, and loving. They strive to meet the children's needs, but have high expectations of proper behavior. House rules are to be followed but there is space for the child to follow his or her interests as long as it is within the set framework. Authoritative parents allow their children to have their opinions and are encourage to express them. But remember, the authoritative parents always has the final word! Children of authoritative parents must know this and accept it. The authoritative parent will listen to their child, but will not give in. They encourage individuality but are not allowed to act according to his or her own individual will if it goes against the conventional norms. Disciplines include: verbal reason, mental logic and physical force if necessary. This style is a middle ground between too strict and too indulgent. It is important to the authoritative parent to find balance between these two. Punishments are only necessary when children need to understand that certain behavior is unacceptable. These can include: becoming angry, take away privileges, or time-out.
Permissive parents are warm, loving, and caring. They try to show their emotions with love as much as possible. They care about the emotional well-being and development and strive to be non-restrictive. There isn't a hierarchy in the family, but the parent does believe in refraining control over children and supports the power of self-regulation. These parents prioritize family harmony and upholding peace even if it may require giving in or obeying children's wants. Permissive parents use manipulation tactics such as bribes, rewards, or praise.
What Parenting Style Aligns With The Family: A Proclamation to the World and the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Many parents have different parenting styles. Some parents may have just one style, or a mix of all of them. Some may be authoritarian one day, and permissive the other.
As we know, Jesus Christ was a Shepard to His sheep. From the Old Testament we learn, "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." (Isaiah 40:11) Jesus Christ wasn't too permissive or authoritarian. He teaches with love and allows us to use our agency. He also has rules, or commandments. Like authoritative parents, He teaches with reason and corrects us when we make mistakes or choose wrong choices. Yet, He does not look down upon us when we fall. Instead, He feeds, gathers, carries, and leads us.
Many parents have different parenting styles. Some parents have just one style, or a mix of all of them. Some may be authoritarian one day, and permissive the other.
From chapter 10 in Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives: "President Gordon B. Hinckley (1994, p. 53) echoed President Young’s words and those of other prophets when he said, “I have never accepted the principle of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.’ . . . Children don’t need beating. They need love and encouragement.” Brigham Young (1862, Journal of Discourses, 9:196) further stated, “Let the child have a mild training until it has judgment and sense to guide it. I differ with Solomon’s recorded saying as to spoiling the child by sparing the rod.”
"Authoritative parenting fosters a positive emotional connection with children, provides for regulation that places fair and consistent limits on child behavior, and allows for reasonable child autonomy in decision making." (Successful Marriages & Families, Chapter 10)
The authoritative parenting style is the most in tune with our Savior Jesus Christ. He leads His sheep by lovingly correcting and teaching them. As we put Jesus Christ in the center of our lives, and especially our homes, He will guide us in our parenting journey. And because of His atonement, we can call upon Him at any time. We can ask for forgiveness when we make mistakes, and we can try harder each day to become more like Him. Like Brigham Young said, let's teach children with correct principles and let them govern themselves.
What parenting style resonates with you?
Click the button below to learn more about your parenting style:
“Chapter 10: Parenting With Love, Limits, and Latitude.” Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives, by Alan J. Hawkins et al., BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, 2016.
Coste, Birgitte., 2010-1019. "Discover Your Parenting Style"
The Old Testament, King James Version (Isaiah 40:11)
Latham, Glenn I. "What's A Parent to Do?: Solving Problems in A Christlike Way" 19 March 1997.
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” (1995, November). Ensign, 25, p. 102.
Photos by Lindsey Smith & art by www.churchofjesuschrist.org