Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: kids

Parenting tip #10:  Love Your Kids—No Matter What

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By Phyllis Rosen

Before writing this last article on parenting, I want to state something for the record:

I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN!

But I didn’t always know that. There were times during their upbringing when I wasn’t convinced they were all that wonderful. Each one, in his or her own way, caused some anxiety or fear or anger. At different stages of their lives, they were not very lovable.

But you must love them anyway, and of course, deep down you do. So how do you show that love during these difficult periods? It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Here’s what my husband and I learned over the years:

1. Find just one positive thing to say each day.

When one of our kids was belligerent and prickly and almost impossible to interact with without getting into an argument, I prayed and prayed to know what to do. The answer was: Read the Book of Mormon.  As I read the Book of Mormon daily, something happened to my heart.   It softened.  And as it softened, I realized I needed to find something positive daily about this child.  As I mentioned positive things to him  (which were not easy to find), I found that the tension in the home decreased.

2. Let go of the things that don’t matter.  

One of our boys decided to pierce his ears. Later he grew his hair long.  Both actions were not what my husband and I wanted. However, neither action was life-threatening or had eternal consequences. We finally learned that the hair and the earrings were outward evidences of inward feelings. We decided to ignore the outward and concentrate on the inner.

3. Make home a refuge.

When one child made choices that were hard for our family to live with, a neighbor came over and gave great advice.   She said,  “No matter what, make your home the very best place to be.  Make it a safe place.  If your child leaves home, you will have less influence and less opportunity to set the example.” My husband and I decided to follow that advice. We did everything we could to make our home a place where our child felt loved, safe, and accepted.

4. Have patience.

We had another child who thought someone else—other than my husband and myself—was more qualified to give guidance and direction. This frustrated me greatly.  But a professional counselor told us to be patient and in time our child would figure out who really loved him or her, and would come back to us, the parents. And that was true.

5. Get professional help as needed.

One of our children got into trouble to the point that I could not live with the fear of what the long-term consequences might be. I finally went to a family counselor.  The result was that he validated my feelings, especially my fears. More importantly, he helped me to figure out what I could do to alleviate the fear and move in a positive direction.  We don’t have to bear every burden by ourselves. Professionals can help us get through tough times by applying their training and perspective.

6. Do all you can, then turn the rest over to Jesus Christ.

Only by turning our burdens to Jesus Christ can we get through the fear and the sorrow and the pain.   When we turn our worries over to Christ, we literally feel the burden being lifted from our shoulders.  This doesn’t mean that all the pain or sorrow or fear is gone.  But it means we know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are aware of our situation and will guide us through it.  Turning our burden over to the Savior enables us to find joy along a difficult journey.

7. Remember that time is measured to us differently than it is measured to God.

We do not have the benefit of seeing the end from the beginning.  We can’t know whether our child will change tomorrow or in ten years.  We need to put our trust in God and know that His timing is perfect.

8. Last of all, when your child seems unlovable, remember that this is your opportunity to develop Christ-like love.

I discovered that after I had gone through trials with less-than-lovable kids, I was much more tolerant and forgiving of others. I am a better person for having gone through the hard times. Looking back, I can see Heavenly Father’s hand, not only in my children’s lives, but in my life as well.

And now I know without a doubt, I HAVE SIX WONDERFUL CHILDREN!

Parenting Tip Series #2: Teach Your Kids to Serve

Near our house is a fairly steep hill.  There are lots of big trees beside the hill, but no houses, so no one is in charge of the sidewalk.  During the year leaves, dirt, and junk collect in the gutter.   It never really washes away because of the cement barriers that are next to the curb.  When our kids were young we started an annual tradition to clean “the hill”. With donned gloves, gathered shovels and brooms, and wheelbarrows we made it our job to clean out the gutter and haul away all the junk.  We tried to do this before school started in the fall so the neighborhood children could have a clean sidewalk on which to trek up to the elementary school.

Needless to say, not all our children thought this was a great idea.  Some of them wondered why someone else didn’t take a turn.  (To make it more fun—and less work—we did invite other families to participate in this project.)  But we just reminded them that we were strong and capable and since no one else was doing it, we would.

897 There were other projects our kids weren’t too keen on.  After large snowstorms my husband took our boys over to  a neighbor’s house to shovel her walk and driveway.  Since she lived on a corner, this was a rather large task.  But she was single and older, and my husband (and one or  other of the boys) was her home teacher, so it wasn’t up  for discussion.   Often our other neighbors would be gone  for the Christmas holiday so we would shovel their  driveway as well.  

Not all of our service projects involved so much hard work.  I was talking to one of my neighbors recently, and she reminded me that our family had washed their cars the night before their daughter’s wedding.  Occasionally we babysat someone’s kids while they went out. We  also served food for the homeless on Christmas eve, and took pipe chimes to the memory care unit to sing Christmas carols with them.

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What did we accomplish with all these random acts of service?  They say the proof is in the pudding, and about three years ago I had a wonderful validation of the value of  teaching our kids to serve through example.   I got a call from a neighbor who needed someone to be with her as she cleaned out her horse’s stall.   She was in the middle of a divorce and couldn’t be at the barn alone, due to hostilities with her spouse.   So she called me to see if I’d come talk to her while she mucked out the stall.  Unfortunately, I was out of the state.  “Not to worry,” I said.  “My twenty-five-year-old son is home and I’ll call him to run over.”   (Luckily he had worked at a horse barn when he was younger so it wasn’t totally out of his comfort zone.)  And he did it!!  He walked over and helped her out!!!

President Monson has spent a lifetime reaching out to “the one” and he is always encouraging us to do the same.  He counsels us:  

“To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves. No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow man. Service to others is akin to duty, the fulfillment of which brings true joy.”  -President Monson

When the kids were little, I taught them this poem:

“I have wept in the night

For the shortness of sight

That to somebody’s need made me blind;

But I never have yet

Felt a tinge of regret

For being a little too kind.”    (anonymous)

I hope that we taught our children that life doesn’t just revolve around themselves, but that others have needs that are just as important. I hope we taught them compassion, helping them to see that others might be suffering, or be lonely, or just need a little boost here or there.  I hope we taught them that it doesn’t hurt to give of your time and talents. Last of all, I hope they learned that they are always better off for having served.

Written by Phyllis Rosen

Wedding Wednesday: Kid Questions

The excitement is building; I am officially counting down the days now. In a little over two weeks my fiancée and I are getting married in the Salt Lake Temple! He feels like it’s not coming soon enough, I feel like the time is whizzing by.

Today, instead of talking about wedding planning, I’d like to talk about something that I will have to start thinking about in the near future; when to have kids. My fiancée and I have only talked about it occasionally, and it was only the basic questions like: “how many kids do you want?” or “what should we name our kids?” We haven’t really talked about it seriously yet, but I imagine that time will be coming soon. It’s a question that all married couples have to face and eventually decide on.

A couple weeks ago, my cousin told my fiancée and I not to have kids until he had a secure job. At the time we just smiled and didn’t say anything, but I was inwardly upset. Not only was it not her place to say, but also in the LDS faith we are taught that having children is part of God’s plan, and that families are essential to our salvation. I have often heard from Church leaders that couples should not necessarily wait until they are financially secure to have children. I knew that my cousin had heard the same testimonies on the subject so I was confused as to why she would say that to us.

I had to take a step back and think about where my cousin was coming from. My cousin grew up in a home where her father came from a well-to-do family and was already secure in his job when he married her mom. Taking this step back, I could see her perspective and knew that she sincerely had our best interests at heart.

While my cousin’s advice was logical, it is not up to her, the rest of my family, nor my friends, or really anyone, to decide when my fiancée and me have children. The decision when to have kids and how many should be between the spouses and the Lord. When making this decision, and really any important decision, it is necessary to consult with each other and pray to the Lord about the decision. By doing this we invite the Lord to be a part of the marriage and have a hand in it.422661_433475463356702_1883829178_n

Just as we wouldn’t want to be judged, it is important not to be judgmental of other couples based on how many or how few kids they have. No one really understands their specific situation, only the Lord does. The Lord is the judge of mankind, not us. Many times it may be difficult for a couple to bear children, and it would be unfair to judge them. Remember, it is not anyone else’s business; it is solely between husband, wife, and the Lord.

I personally cannot wait to start a family and I am so ecstatic to be a mother. Families are essential to society, and most notably to the children that are brought into it.

By Bryn Adams

8 Lessons I Learned From My Parents

By: Alissa Holm

            Everyone reaches a point when they realize how wise their parents were. For some, it’s the moment when they cook their first meal at college. For others, it’s when they have their first day of work at a full time job. And for almost everyone, that moment comes when they have their first child (or so I’ve heard.) For me, I think I’ve always known I had good parents. But it took living independently at school for me to fully realize how much they shaped the way I think and the way I understand the world. Here are eight of the many lessons my parents taught me that I’ll never forget.

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I’m Afraid to Be a Mom

I went to a baby shower last weekend and I couldn’t help but think how fun it would be to have a baby of my own. Actually, every time I’m around kids (which isn’t actually that often), I find myself thinking this. But then I think about how painful it would be to actually physically have a child, and how I’m happy being an unmarried, not pregnant college student. But I do have thought of some plans for my future first baby. Before I get pregnant, I’m going to read all the parenting books available and take advantage of every birthing class. Then I’ll be ready. Won’t I?

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Review: Hotel Transylvania

by Jaden Anderson

In the new animated film Hotel Transylvania, Adam Sandler plays the role of Count Dracula, an overprotective dad who builds a lavish five-star hotel/castle where monsters can get away from the world of “dangerous” humans. Dracula hopes to protect his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), within the hotel walls, but she has big dreams of seeing the outside world. Everything changes on Mavis’s 118th birthday when a human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) enters the castle. Jonathan opens Mavis’s eyes to life outside the castle, also opening Dracula’s eyes to the possibility that maybe humans aren’t bad after all. Jonathan’s arrival alters life at the hotel, and Dracula must use the help of his friends Griffin the Invisible Man, Murray the Mummy, Frank, and Wayne to set things right.

The film is loaded with an all-star cast featuring the voice talents of Kevin James, David Spade, Cee Lo Green, Steve Buscemi, and Molly Shannon. Hotel Transylvania is full of gags and gimmicks for kids of all ages. A fun soundtrack featuring songs by LMFAO and will.i.am. appeals to teenagers and young adults as well. The slapstick humor moves the film along at a quick, fun pace, although sometimes not leaving enough time in between jokes for them to stick. There are a few innuendoes and some crude humor, but overall the film is definitely kid-friendly. Hotel Transylvania promotes family, love, and accepting others who may appear different. It’s also a great Halloween film to see without scaring the kids. If you’re looking for an entertaining and uplifting movie this Halloween for the entire family, then check in at the Hotel Transylvania!