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Parenting Wisdom From Conference: Part 3

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder Christofferson told us that we are held to high expectations, but that through the atonement and correction we can become perfect.  He said we don't always get what we want and often times, just as bushes, pruning back wild growth is necessary for our spiritual development.  He explained how correction is desirable even though it can hurt. 

Elder Christofferson instructed us to correct our children and teach them to accept correction as well.  He explained that only after learning how to be corrected, and why it is necessary, can a person get to a point where they constantly engage in self-correction, which leads them closer to perfection. 

This counsel is drastically needed in today's society.  Many parents have bought into the idea that children will somehow naturally see the right choice and go toward it.  And, that whatever a child chooses must be right.  I wish this easy parenting method were true, but it is wrong.  It seems organic, but in reality is not. 

True organic, from the beginning type, parenting requires nourishing and training.  Just like a small seed, a child needs nutrients and stability.  You give a seed the best nutrients for proper growth just as you give a child truth, virtues, and exposure to goodness in all of its forms to nourish their soul and inspire them to grow spiritually strong. 

Small seedling plants cannot weather large storms without stability and support.  Children are no different, and these are times of great storms.  Just as a gardener surrounds a small tree with sticks and line to keep it growing strong in a storm, our children must also be braced for the rough weather ahead by learning skills in a supportive, structured environment. 

Elder Christofferson mentioned the need to correct children.  He did not give specifics on how to do this for obvious reasons; each child and his needs are unique and need to always be considered.  However, as a mother who has taken a wide variety of troubled youth into my home I would like to offer a suggestion here. 

Correcting Someone

In my book Parenting A House United, I explain an effective way to correct another person: Make sure you are calm, describe what just happened, explain what was wrong about the choice, describe what the right choice would have been and why, explain consequences earned, and practice doing the situation the “right” way. 

Elder Christofferson also mentioned teaching our children to accept correction.  This is one of the Four Basic life skills all people should learn for relationship success and happiness.  Think for a moment about how many people you know who  can't accept the fact that they have done anything wrong.  This is a serious character flaw.  Unless a person can admit their wrong, they are not able to progress. 

It's one thing to give your child correction and a consequence when they have done something wrong, but it is another entirely to not even allow your child to have the opportunity to begin their consequence unless they have chosen to accept their consequence.  We noticed early on, with the difficult foster youth placed in our home, that consequences did no good unless the person's heart was in the right place and ready to accept the consequence and talk about what should have happened first. 

These are the steps to “Accepting a Consequence” which I talk about in Parenting A House United, and on my blog

1. Look at the person
2. Keep a calm voice, face, and body
3. Say “okay” or ask to disagree appropriately
4. Follow through with the earned consequence
5. Drop the subject

When a person learns these five steps and puts them into practice they are happier, have better relationships, and are on the path to self-correction, which is part of self-government.

More to come . . .


Nicholeen Peck is a popular public speaker, television personality, and author. Her blog is Teaching Self Government. The BBC show of her family can be found there, as well as answers to frequently asked parenting questions. To buy her book click here.

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