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Building A Strong Family

Examples and ideas to help you solve problems and develop a strong family


This section of the Family Resource Book highlights three fundamental gospel principles: integrity, agency, and love. As you read and ponder this section, you will read about husbands and wives, parents, children, and single adults who face much the same everyday challenges you do. The principles needed to help them solve their problems are the same that will help you.

Helping Family Members Live the Gospel
We can learn to be better parents by studying the scriptures to see how Heavenly Father deals with his children. We can also learn how not to act by observing Satan's methods.

Personal Integrity--The Key to Example
The foundation of a righteous home is the parents' righteousness. If we desire others, especially our children, to be obedient to gospel principles, we must first look to our own integrity and obedience. When we live by correct principles, our children will be more likely to follow our example.

Agency--The Key to Growth
Children are able to grow the most when they can exercise their agency....As a parent, allowing your children to exercise their agency and choose for themselves is one of the greatest challenges you may face.

Unconditional Love--The Key to Effective Parenthood
A person's ability to love unconditionally can have powerful effects. Seeing another person in an eternal perspective, knowing that he is of infinite worth, helps us to look beyond his weaknesses.

Achieving Oneness in Marriage
If each spouse is forever seeking the interests, comforts, and happiness of the other, the love . . . will grow" (Spencer W. Kimball, Marriage and Divorce [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, Co., 1976], p. 23).

Resolving Conflicts in Marriage
There is no magic formula that will instantly free you from current marital conflict. The only solution is living the gospel. Your own humility and obedience must be the starting point for seeing possible solutions.

Teaching by Example
General principles for helping us improve our families were outlined at the beginning of this section. But when parents wish to teach their children specific values, they do so most powerfully by example. Through love and willingness to listen, to understand, and to share their deepest beliefs, parents teach by example.

Reasoning with Children
Do you reason with your children? or do you command them? Read the comparisons to help you evaluate whether your children understand why they should be obedient or if they are merely learning that you use power over them.

Building Confidence
We are told that we should not negatively label our children. But when we use such language, we do more than give a hostile label. We show we do not really care about them. How can we avoid using such labels? We must repent of unloving feelings and show compassion and patience. It may be that our task is not as much to build confidence in our children as it is to quit stealing it from them.

Teaching Responsibility
In order to teach our children responsibility, we must allow them to make certain decisions and choices for themselves. However, parents first have the responsibility to teach the principles and laws to their children. Then they must see that their children clearly understand the positive and negative consequences of their choices. Sometimes, as in the following example, it requires giving a child time to make a wise choice.

Setting Limits
The limits and boundaries that parents set can help teach children the best ways to live as well as demonstrate love and concern. As children grow and develop, they explore many ways of behaving. Children try different behaviors to develop their personalities and to learn what is acceptable. Not everything a child tries is right or acceptable. It is important that children not be allowed to develop without proper direction from their parents. The purpose of setting limits is to show children the paths to happiness. It is part of what it means to "train up a child" (see Proverbs 22:6).

Helping Children Learn
Children learn from the world they live in. It does not have to be a world rich in material goods, but if you are interested and willing to give of your time and talent, you will give your children a rich world in which to learn.

Sharing Sorrows
In sharing children's sorrows, you are seeing their sorrows as your own. You become one with them. You also help them to see that no matter what the sorrow, they should not lose hope.

Dealing with Problems Privately
Spending regular, private time with each child and with your spouse can effectively prevent some problems and help you deal with those that do arise. By regularly communicating on a one-to-one basis, you share not only your thoughts and feelings, but your burdens as well. Then, when an occasion arises that you need to correct a child or discuss a misunderstanding, it will be natural to do so on a one-to-one basis.

Reclaiming a Wayward Child
What can you do when a child raised in light and truth turns his back on the gospel? Too often, friends, leaders, and sometimes parents, lose faith. They assume that they have failed or that there is nothing that can be done to bring the children back. Such attitudes deny hope in the future. The Lord has taught us otherwise; he would have us have faith in ourselves and in our children.

Teaching about Procreation and Chastity
God expects parents in the Church to teach their children about procreation and chastity and to prepare them for dating and marriage. This responsibility should not be left to schools, friends, playmates, or strangers. Heavenly Father wishes his children to understand how to use this great and holy power wisely and reverently. If parents will seek the guidance of the Spirit in humble prayer, he will help them teach their children about this sacred power.

Understanding the Personality Development of Children
Children are not just little adults. They go through typical characteristics of growth—intellectually, emotionally, and socially—on their way to becoming adults. When parents realize these things, there is less strain on both parents and children. Family home evenings can be more enjoyable and successful when a child's personality development is considered. Remembering that a child does not think like an adult, have the same attention span, or see the world the same way adults do, can help a parent plan a home evening everyone can enjoy.

(See Daily Living home page; Family Home Evening home page; Parenting home page)

 Copyright 1983 by THE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

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