"...Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise" --Alma 37:6

Saturday, December 3, 2011


One may ask why a 21 year old, single, college student is writing a post about parenting. Well, we discussed it in class and who says it's not a good idea to learn some good parenting skills and techniques before you have children. We mainly focused on parenting teens. It was really quite informative.

First, we reviewed the 3 main styles of parenting : Authoritarian, Permissive, and Authoritative (or Democratic, or Active). Authoritarian parenting is very, my way or the high way, includes no discipline but punishment, and greatly increases the child's chance of rebellion. Permissive parenting, also known as door mat parenting, the child is allowed to do whatever they want, parents never say no, and the child learns to become extremely dependent on their parents. Authoritative, also known as democratic or active, is the ideal parenting style. Parents with this style use fair discipline, allow teens to actively participate in deciding rules and consequences when rules are broken, they also treat their kids with great respect and understanding.

If you do not know for sure which parenting style is yours, or you think you know here is an online survey by Active Parenting Publishers and the work of Dr. Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D, Active Parenting.

The site for the survey also has a great deal of information about a great program for improving parenting skills and learning new techniques for raising teens. I may not be the mother of teens yet, nor have much experience raising teens, but when you are in college most of your peers in undergraduate school are still teens or just barely out of the teen years.

Even 21 year olds still act like teens (including me). These techniques that Dr. Popkin teaches and explains are extremely useful for interacting with my peers and just learning to better understand what they might be thinking, or how they may feel.

Also, I was a teenager once and my parents used a lot of these techniques and it worked out wonderfully. I still had my temper tantrums, and odd quirks and mood swings but my parents took them all in stride. They were pretty amazing. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a great fear among parents is to have a child reject the gospel. This can lead to overcompensating and permissive parenting, or in some case authoritarian parenting supposedly removing any chance of the child rebelling.

Neither permissive parenting nor authoritarian parenting will stop a child from rebelling. Authoritative parenting isn't a guaranteed promise of wonderful children, but it decrease the risk of rebellion of the teen. Authoritative parenting also helps improve communication between parent and teen. It also shows the teen that the parents have a greater trust in them which increases the teen's loyalty to their parents.

No matter how wonderful a parent you are, or what style of parenting you use, you cannot stop the inevitable. I mean to say that what a child chooses to do after leaving the home and going on their own is their choice. We all have free agency and sometimes bad choices are made and paths are taken that cause more harm than good. We have to let children learn from their own mistakes. Our desire to protect them from everything is noble and important, but everybody needs to fall into a couple of cracks before they learn how to avoid them.

My teacher, Bro. Williams, shared a wonderful story about a young lady he used to counsel. She said something to him that he will never forget and he shared it with us. Now I will never forget it. She said, "You're the grown-ups. You're supposed to do what's right even if we don't want you to". Children want and expect discipline and respect. They don't want their parents to be their friends, they want their parents to be their parents. They need that support and love only a parent can give them. By trying to be their friend, we are denying them that support and love.

I may not be a parent or be an expert on parenting and the best way to raise children, but I was a child once and using that perspective gives me some ideas on what I could to be a great parent. I also have the example of my parents and the wonderful job they did. They may think they could have done better, but they did everything right and in the way it was supposed to be done.

My teacher provided some resources for outside study, not required for class, and I am going to list them here. I plan to read them and learn what I can, and I challenge you to do the same. Thanks for reading!

Parenting with Love: Making a difference in a day, by Glenn I. Latham

What a Parent to Do? Solving Family Problems in a Christlike Way, by Glenn I. Latham

The Parenting Style Quiz is from ActiveParenting.com

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