The August Ensign contains an article with great guidelines to common-sense parenting. “Love, Limits, and Latitude,” by Craig H. Hart, Lloyd D. Newell, and Julie H. Haupt, offers advice on avoiding parenting that is too authoritarian or too permissive, focusing instead on the love parents should show toward their children, as well as the limits they should set and the ways they should encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior. For instance, it says:
“Milk will spill; children will sometimes be less than careful on the playground; teens may let their social life sabotage their grades. These experiences can teach them that certain actions are not productive. Helping to clean up the milk, bandaging the wound, or talking through an improved study schedule would be more effective than scolding a child in an attempt to teach a lesson that is already obvious.”
The article also discusses how to foster children’s sense of independence by giving them latitude. This approach often requires negotiation and compromise on the rules at times, but it helps children prepare for real-world situations. Children can also benefit from this approach in their spiritual lives. As the article says:
“Providing latitude also gives children space to develop their own feelings about the gospel. Teens who have learned to recognize the Spirit and to make choices based on their understanding of right and wrong—rather than simply on parents’ demand for obedience—will be better equipped to make wise decisions in the face of stress or peer pressure.”
This sort of advice seems like common sense, but It’s sometimes hard for parents to follow it. The Ensign does a good service by offering reminders and examples like those in this article.