I feel like we live in an era where we have an abundance of information available to us at any time--or rather an overabundance of information that we cannot seem to escape. This seems particularly true for parenting as anyone and everyone has an opinion on what you should or shouldn't be doing. Over time parenting trends and "expert" opinions always change, however, I've found that the best parenting advice comes from the loving guidance of our prophet and apostles. Here are seven of my favorite talks that will strengthen you as a parent and help you prioritize the most important things in life.
Only Upon the Principles of Righteousness
Elder Larry Y. Wilson (2012)
"Wise parents prepare their children to get along without them. They provide opportunities for growth as children acquire the spiritual maturity to exercise their agency properly." As a parent of a very spirited and independent child, I have found this talk especially helpful in guiding us on how we can provide that delicate balance between allowing a child to have space for autonomy and mistakes while maintaining appropriate limits and boundaries.
Larry R. Lawrence (2010)
"What the world really needs is courageous parenting from mothers and fathers who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand." Elder Lawrence speaks directly to the parents of teenagers, but his counsel can be applied to younger children as well. Even though my child is still fairly young, I appreciate a wider perspective on parenting and being able to make decisions ahead of time, with my husband, rather than waiting until problems arise. Elder Lawrence addresses several topics including sleepovers and having personal interviews with your children.
The Greatest Challenge in the World - Good Parenting
Elder James E. Faust (1990)
"And so it is with being parents. The little things are the big things sewn into the family tapestry by a thousand threads of love, faith, discipline, sacrifice, patience, and work." Elder Faust is very specific when it comes to what values we must instill in our children. He speaks about discipline, covenants, and parents' examples.
What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye Be?
Lynn G. Robbins (2011)
"May your efforts to develop Christlike attributes be successful so that His image may be engraven in your countenance and His attributes manifest in your behavior." Elder Robbins emphasizes how we can be rather than do and how we can teach children through Christlike endeavors. He says that the greatest opportunity we have to show and teach Christlike attributes is in the way we discipline our children.
Take Especial Care of Your Family
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1994)
"The hard doctrines, however, insist that we ask some hard questions. How can a nation nurture family values without consistently valuing and protecting the family in its public policies? How can we value the family without valuing parenting? And how can we value parenting if we do not value marriage? How can there be “love at home” without love in a marriage?" Elder Maxwell provides some disheartening statistics on the family and declining values in our country. The fact that he gave this talk over 20 years ago is a testament to the insight and revelation that our prophet and apostles receive. Elder Maxwell provides some "basic remedies" that, over time, can fix these problems.
How Will Our Children Remember Us?
Elder Robert D. Hales (1993)
"In many ways earthly parents represent their Heavenly Father in the process of nurturing, loving, caring, and teaching children. Children naturally look to their parents to learn of the characteristics of their Heavenly Father. After they come to love, respect, and have confidence in their earthly parents, they often unknowingly develop the same feelings towards their Heavenly Father." Elder Hales shares stories of how his parents, particularly his father, taught him through their example. The story that resonated with me the most was when he was a young boy and his father, being under a lot of stress, took the time to explain and help him understand, rather than hit or yell at him, when young Robert had disobeyed.
Family Councils: A Conversation with Elder and Sister Ballard
Elder M. Russell Ballard and his wife Barbara Ballard (2003)
"Elder Ballard and his wife, Barbara discuss how family councils can help families grow spiritually, gain unity, and function successfully." This question and answer format provides clarification on what a family council is, why it's important, and how to make a family council successful in your home.
Jefra Rees is the wife of a loving husband and the mother of a young son with sensory processing challenges. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and also has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education, both from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked with children and families in a variety of settings, but her greatest work is that which is done in her own home.