I think at some point every intentional parent stop and ask themselves this valid and simple question. After all, we are just trying to do the best we could as parents. Because I’ve always wanted to be a mother I knew that type of mother I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to raise my children with love and compassion. I’ve learned that being a parent is a heavenly calling, but unfortunately, not everyone embraces the divine nature of the call. Some are even confused about their roles as parents. Hopefully one can find insight as I share some elements I’ve learned about good parenting.
There are many voices and opinions about what a parent should or should not do, or even how we should discipline our children. Many of these thoughts can be conflicting. But through my own experience and some research, I’ve come to discover the optimal parenting style. It is known as the authoritative parenting style. It fosters a positive emotional connection with children, provides regulation that places fair and consistent limits on child behavior, and allows for reasonable child autonomy in decision making.
The first of the three characteristics of authoritative parenting is Love or emotional connection.
President Gordon B Hinckley stated: “Every child is entitled to grow up in a home where there is warm and secure companionship, where there is love in the family relationships, where appreciation one for another is taught and exemplified and where God is acknowledged and His peace and blessings invoked before the family altar.”
A very profound statement! Are we making sure that love prevails all within the walls of our homes? Are we acknowledging God and allowing Him in our hearts and home? The world we live in is in so much turmoil. There is uncertainty and chaos. Who do we turn to? Who do our children turn to? We MUST make it a priority for our children to know who God is and that they know that they are loved. We should make it a habit to express our love and admiration to our children often. Just like we spend time getting to know our significant other and learning their love language we should also learn the love language of our children so that we can most effective in showing our love. Here’s a book that I’d recommend to get you started (The 5 Love Languages of Children).
The second element of authoritative parenting is setting limits, known in the scholarly literature as creating regulations.
This simply means finding ways to effectively help our children learn how to regulate their behaviors in a non-intimidating and violent way. Which we can all agree can be difficult. I’d admit that finding ways to effectively help children learn how to regulate their behavior responsibly is one of the most challenging parts of being a parent. But we need to learn when to tighten or loosen our grip. It will take inspiration, effort, and some measure of creativity.
At the end of it all, any discipline or correction should be done in a sincere effort to teach our children correct principles. Even though it may seem easier to dish out a nice warm set of butt whopping. We should reconsider the approach.
For this element to work we must set clear and firm rules and expectations. Be proactive in explaining the reasons for setting the rules and follow through promptly when children do not abide by the rules (I am not talking about the butt whooping they had coming from two weeks ago). We must try every effort to make discipline meaningful learning opportunities.
President Spencer W Kimball noted, “setting limits to what a child can do means to that child that you love him and respect him”
And lastly, the third component of authoritative parenting is Latitude or Autonomy
Elder M Russell Ballard taught “Helping children learn how to make decisions requires that parents give them a measure of autonomy, dependent on the age and maturity of the child and the situation at hand. Parents need to give children choices and should be prepared to appropriately adjust some rules, thus preparing children for real-world situations.”
My daughter recently turned 2 and she already wants to be a part of the decision making with my husband and me. She wants to pick out her favorite outfit, she wants to have a say when it is bedtime (we are trying to be very strict on this by the way), and she chooses what she would like to eat. Most persons would think that she is too young to be making those decisions or we are spoiling her but, we strongly believe in molding and teaching our child rather than controlling her. Some examples may include allowing the child the option of taking out the garbage in the evening or the morning before school; asking whether the child would prefer hot or cold cereal.
Whenever possible, we should provide our children with information and guidance rather than just deliver messages and try to control their choices. I truly believe if we are to teach our children principles of truth and give them many opportunities to make choices in an environment of love and concern they will be more likely to make wise decisions.
This parenting style may sound as if it is something out of a movie or straight from a fairytale but the research has proven that the Authoritative parent is the most effective. Though not perfect it has the most positive effects on a child’s development compared to the other parenting styles I’ve researched and experienced.
Check out this link below if you are curious to find out the type of parent you are: https://365tests.com/personality-tests/type-of-parent/