Adapted from Ed J. Pinegar and Richard J. Allen, excerpted from a forthcoming book called, “What We Need to Know and Do.
1. Make your children the center of your life.
- They are your highest priority—They are more important than fame, professional acclaim, or fortune. “No success can compensate for failure in the home.” – David O. McKay
- They deserve your time—Spend time with them—quality and quantity. This is a must. It generates lasting memories and proves you truly care. “The best thing to spend on children is your time.” —Anonymous
- Always be there for them—They need your presence more than your presents. They need to know that you are their refuge and their support, their mentor and their friend, their source of encouragement and comfort—no matter what.
2. Make the home the center of life for your children.
- A place of safety—Make your home a refuge for them, a place of peace and security. Make the home the center of their lives—not just a passing “pit-stop.”
- A gathering place—Hold family home evening each week and schedule a time for special family activities.
- Welcome their friends—Allow their friends in; make the home more appealing than any other place.
3. Make love the center of the home. Here are ten of the many faces of love:
- Love is constant—Show love often. Always show acceptance for your children.
- Love listens—Nothing will induce feelings of self-confidence and self-regard in a child more than a sense of really being listened to.
- Love is flexible—Each child is different—it takes a customized approach for each.
- Love looks for the good—Put the emphasis on praising them for doing things right. Praise sincerely and frequently, always being specific about what is admirable.
- Love is specific—Take time to help them understand specifically what is expected of them regarding their attitudes and behaviors.
- Love is balanced—Balance their need for strong discipline with their need to learn to make responsible choices. “You cannot teach a child to take care of himself unless you let him try to take care of himself. He will make mistakes; and out of these mistakes will come his wisdom.” —Henry Ward Beecher
- Love accepts the individual—Always separate behavior from the individual. You accept them, but not always everything they do. Avoid labeling them; instead, identify the behaviors that need to improve.
- Love takes the long view—Never chastise without enough of the “balm of love” to ensure your relationship will still be good. There are dozens of ways to say “no” without causing ill feelings or lasting grudges.
- Love measures carefully—Give them specific jobs to do and expect good performance. Help them to evaluate their progress. Have suitable rewards for reaching goals.
- Love is patient—Never forget that they are young and need time to become mature and become responsible.
4. Teach your children.
- Teach correct principles—Refer to all the scriptures at the beginning of this article and teach all things to your children.
- Help them build values—Help them establish a gospel value system to govern their behavior. Remember that agreed-upon values bring unity to the family.
- Worship together—Attend your Church meetings together. Find regular ways for your family to show devotion and reverence for God and life. “If you can give your children a trust in God, they will have one sure way of meeting all the uncertainties of existence.” —Eleanor Roosevelt