Parenting Toddlers and Parenting Teenagers ~Family Government in Action4 min read

Parenting Toddlers ~ Small Successes

Nicholeen,

I've been working with my son Jack for the last six months to appropriately accept correction. He's 21 months old. He'll do something inappropriate, I'll tell him the right thing to do and then say, "You say, 'OK, mom.'" I've been wondering, over the course of the months, if my efforts were in vain. Was he too young? Would he ever get it?Tonight during bath time I gave him an instruction, and then told him to say, "OK, mom." And he said, "OK, mom." It took me by such surprise! I clapped and cheered and made a big deal about it. I just wanted to share this little success with you.

I remember when my babies first started saying, "okay" too. Their first great lesson was learned; that it was a good happy thing to respect mommy and daddy and do what they said.

Praise is the key to teaching this lesson and making a lasting impression. Don't be afraid to dance around the house and cheer if you are excited. Show your emotions. Your children want to see you like you really are and know how you really feel. Even when a consequence is earned, or time-out is needed, don't forget to praise like you mean it for good choices.

Adults are often too somber and take too much to get excitement out of. Done deep in all of us, we want to cheer and party. Let's be honest, we want to do it every day. Who doesn't want life to feel like a great big family Party?

Speaking of keeping the family government feeling alive and excited…….below is a response from a family with teen-aged children who really love and use family meetings. They are excited to take their family government to the next level.

Teenagers Taking the Lead in the Family:

Our family is listening to your LDSEHE eConference now on Sunday evenings as a FHE. Can you believe this?This is the idea of our twoteen-aged daughters, ages 13 and 16! They were disappointed in their 18 year old sister for not showing more excitement about the idea!My husbandand I purchased a special family council notebook and showed it to the family, we are writing our family mission statement in the front and will begin those meetings after we've heard the lecture on it.
The kids are all very excited to do this. They made sure that their18 year old sister, who had been out of town, saw the BBC show… The funny thing is, our family really does function quite peacefully and well, but still, they want MORE. They like the idea of being able to disagree respectfully and they like the freedom and voice that comes to them (protected by family rules) in being able to voice and tackle problems in the family in a family council.
I keep wondering what major improvement this will bring that motivates them so much to want to do this, but I think that it is more the idea that there is a system in place that appeals to them. We naturally like the order, we feel safe in it. As teenagers, they are such good girls really, they don't give me any trouble, but they still desire this system in place, spelled out, agreed upon by all, enforced, so to speak by the parents, which allows them to freely tackle family problems and solve them. I think it gives them a forum, which gives them more of a voice. It sounds like we don't give them one, we do, but this is a system which protects that voice and encourages it in an orderly manner. I think that really appeals to them.
I think we'll also be teaching our children diplomatic skills for solving problems in our family councils.
Anyway, just thought I'd share it with you–how this is working for us.

I LOVE this email! This family is really doing the family vision well. The children see that if they know how to govern their own behaviors then they have more control over their lives and their happiness at home. These children really want self-government and they are going for it.

**It is really important that there are no surprises in your parenting, or family government. Surprise consequences create mistrust of the parents. Your system of parenting and family culture should be completely understood by the children. I think letting the children listen to the CD sets is a GREAT idea! When I was going through the editing process for the CDs, my daughter didn't want me to turn them off. She said, "Mom, I know we already do this, but it is really interesting to listen too. Please don't stop here. I want to hear the rest."

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