Gentle Parenting – Quotes of the Prophets

Administering mercy as a parent in Zion

While Avoiding Overly Enabling


(Evidences for Authoritative preferred to Authoritarian parenting)

(For my companion document showing another side Parenting with Strictness While Avoiding Abuse…e-avoiding-abuse/ )

-““When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”That concept is easy for mothers and fathers to understand. Parental love includes gratitude for service extended to any of their children, especially in their time of need. I was amused recently when one of our grown children confided that she had always thought that she was her daddy’s favorite daughter. She was surprised to discover later that each of her eight sisters harbored that same feeling. Only when they had become mothers themselves did they realize that parents hardly have favorites.” (“Teach Us Tolerance and Love” by Russell M. Nelson Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (

-Alex Jensen (BYU social development professor) thinks authoritative is the preferred, not a mix of authoritative and authoritarian

-Alex Jensen (BYU professor of family life) says the defining aspect of authoritarian is control; who is in power/control. If the parent is getting the child to do things from commands of “I told you to do it now do it” that is typical of authoritarian. Use of physical punishments is also authoritarian.

-The scripture says reprove betimes with sharpness, this suggests the sharp aspect is infrequent

-authoritative doesn’t withdraw love; authoritarian would say “you did this bad thing, no hugs or kisses tonight, and I’m not going to speak to you for 6 hours.”

-authoritative punishments are very related to the offence; you break it you buy it; you spill it you clean it; etc.

-authoritative parenting can involve a swat at times if need to show the pain that action will bring says Mark Butler SFL BYU; he gave the example of him swatting his kids leg hard when his kid ran in the street since he wanted to show his kid that if this continues, pain like that but greater will come from a car hitting him. He said “I wish you didn’t have to experience this but it is for your protection”

-authoritative likely involves coming down to the child’s level, “I noticed this is happening. Why is that? Don’t you remember I asked you to do this other? So you want a different thing? Let’s make a compromise. Let’s set up a reward. Let’s remember what natural consequences will come if you don’t do this thing I have asked.”

-“I have never had a tinge of regret for being a little too kind” (LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson)

-Alex Jensen says that though spanking may be effective on some level, he has never done it since he is afraid that he would not be able to control himself if he entered that threshold.

-Alex Jensen says that in our culture, authoritative parenting is the most effective.

-authoritative emphasizes “do’s”, authoritarian emphasizes “don’ts”

-authoritative uses reasoning power to guide, leads to secure attachment, results in the child being liked by both adults and peers. But authoritarian/ heavy power assertion leads to aggression in the child and peers not liking the child.

-an LDS parenting manual uses a story of a parent who is angry and going to discipline a child but before he reaches the child calms down, and speaks with the child peaceably.

-“Parents should never drive their children, but lead them along, giving them knowledge as their minds are prepared to receive it. Chastening may be necessary betimes, but parents should govern their children by faith rather than by the rod, leading them kindly by good example into all truth and holiness” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 208). (This is cited in the Parent Guide LDS manual)

-“The emotional climate in the home establishes either a positive or a negative learning environment. Climate means “the weather you can expect in a certain place.” What is the “weather” in your home? Is it warm, comfortable, secure; or is there too much thunder, lightning, and cold? Occasionally a teaching moment will arise out of an atmosphere of tension and anxiety, but most effective teaching moments occur in loving, peaceful, respectful circumstances, when the “feeling” is right and when the climate in a relationship is peaceful.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-Referring to a young woman tired of her parent always asking her if she had been unchaste and being standoffish/distant toward her,  “She has her agency, and she chose to be unchaste. But what might have happened had her mother loved and kissed her daughter as she left to go on a date, and if afterward she had invited her daughter to share her experiences in a private, respectful way? If parents show and express their love and give accurate information without nagging and repeating themselves endlessly, children are more likely to listen and be influenced for good.” (LDS Parent Guide)

-“ For your own sake, for the love that should exist between you and your boys—however wayward they might be … when you speak or talk to them, do it not in anger, do it not harshly, in a condemning spirit. Speak to them kindly; get them down and weep with them if necessary and get them to shed tears with you if possible. Soften their hearts; get them to feel tenderly toward you. Use no lash and no violence, but … approach them with reason, with persuasion and love unfeigned. … Get them to feel as you feel, have interest in the things in which you take interest, to love the gospel as you love it, to love one another as you love them; to love their parents as the parents love the children. You can’t do it any other way” (Joseph F Smith, Gospel Doctrine,5th ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 316).” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“ Unkind parenting can plant seeds of self-doubt and even confusion about the gender role. These seeds can germinate into personal problems in the following years unless parents change and show increased affection and acceptance.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“ They need continual intimate contact with their parents. It is in this intimate closeness that their future relationships begin to develop.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“ Harsh correction could diminish their self-esteem and make them anxious about trusting others… Patient, kind acceptance of young children’s efforts to learn will help them have good feelings about themselves and feel confident in loving their parents. Through all stages of growth, children need parental encouragement. Punishment for failure will make them feel inferior and unwilling to develop close relationships. Pressure to progress faster than they are ready can create emotional frustration” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-““When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:24).” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“Be loving when you correct your children. Do not withhold affection from them as a way to chastise them, for they may not learn to give affection to others. Physical or emotional abuse may teach a child that cruelty is the normal way to treat other people. Do not spank a child in this age-group with any force and never with an instrument. Also, avoid making a child fearful by locking him in a dark room or threatening to leave him alone.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“One couple sent their bright, energetic, and occasionally mischievous three-year-old out of the room when she became disobedient, but they never shut the door. The child was not cut off from the security of the voices, sounds, or lights in the rest of the house. When she regained control of herself, she wandered back to a warm welcome.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“A child has the right to feel that in his home he has a place of refuge, a place of protection from the dangers and evils of the outside world. Family unity and integrity are necessary to supply this need” (“Six Small Essays,” Improvement Era, Sept. 1965, p. 757) (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“-“In spiritual matters some suppose that men and women need not strive for personal righteousness—because God loves and saves us “just as we are.” But God intends that His children should act according to the moral agency He has given them, “that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.”2 It is His plan and His will that we have the principal decision-making role in our own life’s drama. God will not live our lives for us nor control us as if we were His puppets, as Lucifer once proposed to do. Nor will His prophets accept the role of “puppet master” in God’s place. Brigham Young stated: “I do not wish any Latter Day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ,—the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied. I wish them to know for themselves and understand for themselves.” So God does not save us “just as we are,” first, because “just as we are” we are unclean, and “no unclean thing can dwell … in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man [of Holiness].”4 And second, God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become. Truly He loves us, and because He loves us, He neither compels nor abandons us. Rather He helps and guides us. Indeed, the real manifestation of God’s love is His commandments. We should (and we do) rejoice in the God-ordained plan that permits us to make choices to act for ourselves and experience the consequences, or as the scriptures express it, to “taste the bitter, that [we] may know to prize the good.”” (Elder Christofferson “Free Forever to Act for Themselves”, Oct. 2014  Conf. Report) ” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“[parents’] only purpose in dealing with a child is to bless the child with their efforts. If what they are doing is causing the child to be angry or to experience physical or emotional harm, then their efforts need to cease until they can determine a better course to follow. A wise parent separates himself from the child at a moment when the parent feels such anger and frustration. Sending the child to his room or placing an infant in his crib until the parent has regained composure will often be helpful. If it is not sufficient for the parent to separate himself from the child to regain control, then a parent will do well to get himself and the child in the company of other adults. The presence of another adult or older child usually stimulates a change in the behavior and attitude of both the parent and the child.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“Few will depart from virtue permanently if they are taught in love.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“Parents can mistakenly attribute adult characteristics to adolescents who look like adults but are largely children. They need more time and experience before being expected to act and think completely as adults.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“Parents often give far too much negative counsel to their teenagers. While it is true that you must solemnly warn your teenagers against all types of sin, you should place more emphasis upon the goodness of growing up. God himself, viewing his creation of this earth, pronounced it “good” (see Genesis 1:31). Teach your children that it is good to mature and that adolescence can be filled with beauty and power. Praise them for their spiritual development and maturity.” (LDS Parent Guide Manual)

-“I will here say to parents, that kind words and loving actions towards children, will subdue their uneducated natures a great deal better than the rod, or, in other words, than physical punishment. Although it is written that, “The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame,” and, “he that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes;” these quotations refer to wise and prudent corrections. Children who have lived in the sunbeams of parental kindness and affection, when made aware of a parent’s displeasure, and receive a kind reproof from parental lips, are more thoroughly chastened, than by any physical punishment that could be applied to their persons. It is written, that the Lord “shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth.” And again it is written, “a whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.” The rod of a parent’s mouth, when used in correction of a beloved child, is more potent in its effects, than the rod which is used on the fool’s back. When children are reared under the rod, which is for the fool’s back, it not unfrequently occurs, that they become so stupified and lost to every high-toned feeling and sentiment, that though you bray them in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not their foolishness depart from them. Kind looks, kind actions, kind words, and a lovely, holy deportment towards them, will bind our children to us with bands that cannot easily be broken; while abuse and unkindness will drive them from us, and break asunder every holy tie, that should bind them to us, and to the everlasting covenant in which we are all embraced. If my family; and my brethren and sisters, will not be obedient to me on the basis of kindness, and a commendable life before all men, and before the heavens, then farewell to all influence. Earthly kings and potentates obtain influence and power by terrorism, and maintain it by the same means. Had I to obtain power and influence in that way, I should never possess it in this world nor in the next. Fathers who send their little boys and girls on the plains and ranges, to herd their cattle and sheep, and drag them out of bed very early in the morning, to go out in the cold and wet, perhaps without shoes and but scantily clad otherwise, are cruel to their offspring, and when their children arrive at years of maturity, they will leave the roof under which they have received such oppression, and free themselves from the control of parents, who have acted towards them, more like task-masters than natural protectors. It is in this unnatural school that our thieves have their origin, and where they receive their first lessons in dishonesty and wild recklessness. Mark the path in which a number of our boys have travelled, from the time they were eight or ten years of age, to sixteen, eighteen and twenty. Have they been caressed and kindly treated by their parents, sent to school, and when at home taught to read good books, taught to pray themselves, and to hear their parents pray? Have they been accustomed to live and breathe in a peaceful, quiet, heavenly influence when at home? No. Then can you wonder that your children are wild, reckless and ungovernable? They care not for a name, or standing in society, every noble aspiration is blunted; for they are made to go here or there, like mere machines, at the beck and call of tyrant parents, and are uncultivated and uncivilized. This picture will apply to a few of our young men. Let parents treat their children as they themselves would wish to be treated, and set an example before them that is worthy of you as Saints of God. Parents are responsible before the Lord, for the way in which they educate and train their children, for “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 10, 360-362; find it here (a portion of the above quote is also featured in Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Ch 46

-“None of us know what course our children will take. We set good examples before them, and we strive to teach them righteous principles; but when they come to years of accountability they have their agency and they act for themselves.” (Teachings of the Presidents of The Church: Wilford Woodruff, Ch. 16;

– “Discipline with love. ‘“Discipline” and “punishment” are not synonymous. Punishment suggests hurting, paying someone back for a wrong committed. Discipline implies an action directed toward a goal … of helping the recipient to improve himself’ (William E. Homan, ‘How to Be a Better Parent,’ Reader’s Digest, Oct. 1969, p. 188). Discipline should always be with love” (Elder Ben Banks, in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 40; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 29; cited in Eternal Marriage manual, see

-“Parents can provide an atmosphere of reverence and respect in the home if they teach and guide their children with love.” (Gospel Principles Ch 37 “Family Responsibilities”; see

-“A worthy father who is a member of the Church has the opportunity to hold the priesthood, making him the priesthood leader of his family. He should guide his family with humility and kindness rather than with force or cruelty. The scriptures teach that those who hold the priesthood should lead others by persuasion, gentleness, love, and kindness” (see D&C 121:41–44Ephesians 6:4). (Gospel Principles Ch 37 “Family Responsibilities”; see

-“A mother needs to spend time with her children and teach them the gospel. She should play and work with them so they can discover the world around them. She also needs to help her family know how to make the home a pleasant place to be. If she is warm and loving, she helps her children feel good about themselves.” (Gospel Principles Ch 37 “Family Responsibilities”; see

– “Bible verses in the book of Proverbs that have been interpreted to be in favor of spanking children: Proverbs 13:24 says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chastenth him betimes.” Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 23:13-14 says, “Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” These verses have been interpreted many ways. Most people interpret them to mean that children need to be hit with branches, sticks, and reeds, which is one definition of the Hebrew word “shebet” interpreted means “rod.” However, the word shebet has also been interpreted to mean authority, clan or tribe, and has been known to mean God’s authority as well. Due to the poetic nature of the book of Proverbs and the multiple interpretations of the word “rod” some people think that the term means something metaphorical; such as to use the scriptures to reproof or teach children, or that parents need to remember to exercise their authority over the children in order to help the children have a proper upbringing. Sometimes the truth can sting like a rod might hurt the flesh. So children would not die from the pain of truth. However, there have been cases when parents have beat their children to death with rods and reeds, so it appears that Proverbs 23:13-14 cannot mean to literally beat a child with a rod. A few other Bible verses that give further understanding to parents about disciplining children: Hebrews 12: 6-11 talks about the importance of chastening. Specifically verse eleven says, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Ephesians 6:4 says, “Now, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” 2Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” This second sampling of Bible verses instructs parents to by calm but firm in correcting and instructing children. They tell parents not to be angry or aggressive, but to use words of truth and reproof. In Hebrews it even says that correction should lead to more peace in the family. These verses suggest that parents are to love and rear their children in righteousness and without any anger.” (; not an official church publication;”

-An episode of Brigham Young’s parenting: “a small son of his had the habit of knocking his spoon and his bowl of bread and milk to the floor whenever it was placed in front of him. The child’s mother was perplexed. Brigham counseled her: “The next time he knocks the dish from your hand lean him against the chair, do not say one word to him, [and] go to your work.” The mother did this. The child at first stood by the chair and looked at his mother, then at what he had knocked onto the floor. Finally, he crawled to the spoon and the bowl and placed them back on the table. The child never knocked them from the table again. Of his wife’s action President Young said, “She might have whipped him and injured him, as a great many others would have done; but if they know what to do, they can correct the child without violence” (LBY, xxv).” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Ch 46 “Parental Responsibility”; see

-“That President Young lived the principles he taught is evidenced by his daughter Susa’s description of him as “an ideal father. Kind to a fault, tender, thoughtful, just and firm. … None of us feared him; all of us adored him” (LSBY, 356)” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Ch 46 “Parental Responsibility”; see

-“Nurture your children with love and the admonitions of the Lord. Rearing happy, peaceful children is no easy challenge in today’s world, but it can be done, and it is being done. Responsible parenthood is the key. Above all else, children need to know and feel they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. They need to be assured of that often. Obviously, this is a role parents should fill, and most often the mother can do it best. …” (Ezra Taft Benson, Eternal Marriage manual, “Parenthood: Creating a Gospel Centered Home”; see

-“A successful parent is one who has loved, one who has sacrificed, and one who has cared for, taught, and ministered to the needs of a child. If you have done all of these and your child is still wayward or troublesome or worldly, it could well be that you are, nevertheless, a successful parent. Perhaps there are children who have come into the world that would challenge any set of parents under any set of circumstances. Likewise, perhaps there are others who would bless the lives of, and be a joy to, almost any father or mother” (Howard W Hunter, in Conference Report, Oct. 1983, 94; or Ensign, Nov. 1983, 65). (Cited in Eternal Marriage manual, “Parenthood: Creating a Gospel Centered Home”; see

-“Some of you have children who do not respond to you, choosing entirely different paths. Father in Heaven has repeatedly had that same experience. While some of His children have used His gift of agency to make choices against His counsel, He continues to love them. Yet, I am sure, He has never blamed Himself for their unwise choices” (Richard G Scott, in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 43; or Ensign, May 1993, 34). (Cited in Eternal Marriage manual, “Parenthood: Creating a Gospel Centered Home”; see

-“Hold family councils to discuss family plans and concerns. Some of the most effective family councils are one on one with each family member. Help our children know their ideas are important. Listen to them and learn from them. …” (Robert D Hales in Conference Report, Apr. 1999, 41–44; or Ensign, May 1999, 33–34; Cited in Eternal Marriage manual, “Parenthood: Creating a Gospel Centered Home”; see

-“Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 240) (Cited in Eternal Marriage manual, “Parenthood: Creating a Gospel Centered Home”; see

-“18 percent fewer kids were spanked or beaten (using an object like a paddle or a belt) in 2010 than in 1975. But almost half of all 8- and 9-year-olds are still hit by their parents; and younger kids aren’t exempt from the damaging abuse, either. Research shows that kids who are spanked or hit with an object have lower IQs; they shut down their learning powers. They are also more aggressive, particularly boys, and get in more trouble than kids who are not spanked. Children who are spanked also have sexual problems and low self-esteem as adults. So what can you do when your child is a pain in the neck? Understand what’s going on. Children act out when they don’t have words to express their frustration and anger. To teach your 4-year-old to express his thoughts and feelings, you can put words in his mouth. You might say, “I know you’re feeling tired and wish we could go home, but we can’t. We have to finish grocery shopping.” This helps him release the tension he feels from being trapped somewhere he doesn’t want to be and shows him what he could say to you to make you understand his feelings. It doesn’t always work; sometimes you just have to leave the store before you want to. But it’s important to offer that help so he can learn impulse control and to use words in place of actions. And remember, whenever you feel like spanking your child, take a deep breath and count to 10. You’re the grown-up and should be able to come up with an expressive and thoughtful alternative to hitting your child.” (Michael Roizen, M.D., Deseret News,

– “You will be far more successful with love as your watchword than you will be with a whip or lash or anything of the kind.” (Gordon B Hinckley, cited in

-“have never accepted the principle of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.’ I am persuaded that violent fathers produce violent sons. Children don’t need beating. They need love and encouragement” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Conference Report, Nov. 1994).

-“Above all else, children need to know and feel they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. They need to be assured often of that” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1982, 60).

-“Use no lash and no violence, but . . . approach them with reason, with persuasion and love unfeigned. . . You can’t do it any other way. You can’t do it by unkindness; you cannot do it by driving. . . . You can’t force your boys, nor your girls into heaven. You may force them to hell, by using harsh means in the effort to make them good, when you yourselves are not as good as you should be. The man that will be angry at his boy, and try to correct him while he is in anger, is in the greatest fault. You can only correct your children by love, in kindness, by love unfeigned, by persuasion, and reason” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., SLC: Deseret Book Co., 1939, 316-317)

-“It is not by the whip or the rod that we can make obedient children; but it is by faith and by prayer, and by setting a good example before them” (Brigham Young, Deseret News Weekly, 9 Aug. 1865, 3).

– “My father never laid a hand upon me except to bless me” (Gordon B Hinckley, “Go Forward with Faith”, pg. 141)

-“now days if a parent spanks a child it is likely that the child will have been taught by their school that this is abuse. This teaching encourages children to tell on their parents or to report their parents to authorities even when the spanking was going to be done with love and calmness. Since there are people telling children what is right and wrong instead of parents being the authority on what is right and wrong parents have just cause to abandon spanking as an acceptable parenting practice to protect their families from government intrusion.” (Meridian Magazine (not an official church publication), Nicholeen Peck (author of
A House United: Changing Children’s Hearts and Behaviors by Teaching Self Government ) 2014 “Can Spanking be ok Sometimes?”

-“The genius of our Church government is government through councils. … I have had enough experience to know the value of councils. Hardly a day passes but that I see the wisdom, God’s wisdom, in creating councils: to govern his Kingdom” (Stephen L Richards, in Conference Report, Oct. 1953, 86; also in Eternal Marriage manual

-“If parents are immature and cannot settle their differences without anger, fighting, and name-calling, a child becomes most insecure, and as he grows older he is apt to take up with the wrong type of friends just to get away from an unhappy home environment” (Elder Delbert L. Stapley, in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 45; also in Eternal Marriage manual

-“Often parents communicate most effectively with their children by the way they listen to and address each other. Their conversations showing gentleness and love are heard by our ever-alert, impressionable children” (Elder Marvin J Ashton in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 81; or Ensign, May 1976, 53; also in Eternal Marriage manual

-“It helps children to see that good parents can have differing opinions and that these differences can be worked out without striking, yelling, or throwing things. They need to see and feel calm communication with respect for each other’s viewpoints so they themselves will know how to work through differences in their own lives” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 10; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 9; also in Eternal Marriage manual

if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (Marion G Romney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1980, 88, 90; or Ensign, May 1980, 66–67; also in Eternal Marriage manual

-“The first and most important inner quality you can instill in a child is faith in God. The first and most important action a child can learn is obedience. And the most powerful tool you have with which to teach a child is love. (David O McKay, See Instructor, Dec. 1949, p. 620)” (quoted by L Tom Perry, in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 106; or Ensign, May 1983, 78; also in Eternal Marriage manual

-“A principal purpose for discipline is to teach obedience. President David O. McKay stated: ‘Parents who fail to teach obedience to their children, if [their] homes do not develop obedience society will demand it and get it. It is therefore better for the home, with its kindliness, sympathy and understanding, to train the child in obedience rather than callously to leave him to the brutal and unsympathetic discipline that society will impose if the home has not already fulfilled its obligation’ (The Responsibility of Parents to Their Children, p. 3)” (James E Faust in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 41–42; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 34; also in Eternal Marriage manual

-“Motherhood consists of three principal attributes or qualities: namely, (1) the power to bear, (2) the ability to rear, (3) the gift to love. …This ability and willingness properly to rear children, the gift to love, and eagerness, yes, longing to express it in soul development, make motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world” (David O McKay, Gospel Ideals, 453; also in Eternal Marriage manual

-“Love is the very essence of family life. Why is it that the children we love become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that these children who love their fathers and mothers sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick? ‘There is beauty all around,’ only ‘when there’s love at home’ (Hymns, no. 294)” (Gordon B Hinckley, in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 83; or Ensign, May 1989, 67; also in Eternal Marriage manual

-“parents, who had once been hitters and spankers, had made the shift to calm, firm self-government parenting. Their thirteen-year-old son was “out of instructional control” and the father was calmly going through the Rule of Three to help the son become calm and ready to receive his negative consequence. Then the son said, “Just hit me Dad. It would be quicker. Just hit me.” I loved this great moment for this reformed father. He saw clearly that his son used the previous beatings as a way of not taking responsibility for his actions. He also clearly saw that the child didn’t have to accept the consequence or become calm for a beating to occur. When he did those beatings he was denying his child the opportunity to accept his consequence as something he earned. For justice to be completely effective the guilty must acknowledge his wrongdoing.” (Meridian Magazine (not an official church publication), Nicholeen Peck (author of
A House United: Changing Children’s Hearts and Behaviors by Teaching Self Government ) 2014 “Can Spanking be ok Sometimes?”

-“Let parents treat their children as they themselves would wish to be treated, and set an example before them that is worthy of you as Saints of God.” (DNW,7 Dec. 1864, 2) (also cited in Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Ch 46

-“Bring up your children in the love and fear of the Lord; study their dispositions and their temperaments, and deal with them accordingly, never allowing yourself to correct them in the heat of passion; teach them to love you rather than to fear you.” (DBY, 207) (also cited in Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Ch 46

-“In our daily pursuits in life, of whatever nature and kind, Latter-day Saints … should maintain a uniform and even temper, both when at home and when abroad. They should not suffer reverses and unpleasant circumstances to sour their natures and render them fretful and unsocial at home, speaking words full of bitterness and biting acrimony to their wives and children, creating gloom and sorrow in their habitations, making themselves feared rather than loved by their families. Anger should never be permitted to rise in our bosoms, and words suggested by angry feelings should never be permitted to pass our lips. “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger [Proverbs 15:1].” “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous;” but “the discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression [Proverbs 19:11]”” (DBY, 203–4)

-“In passing through the world I see that the most of parents are very anxious to govern and control their children. As far as my observations have gone I have seen more parents who were unable to control themselves than I ever saw who were unable to control their children. If a mother wishes to control her child, in the first place let her learn to control herself, then she may be successful in bringing the child into perfect subjection to her will. But if she does not control herself how can she expect a child,—an infant in understanding—to be more wise, prudent and better than one of grown age and matured?” (DNSW, 12 July 1870, 2)

-“I can pick out scores of men in this congregation who have driven their children from them by using the wooden rod. Where there is severity there is no affection or filial feeling in the hearts of either party; the children would rather be away from father than be with him.” (DBY, 203)

-“It is not by the whip or the rod that we can make obedient children; but it is by faith and by prayer, and by setting a good example before them.” (DNW, 9 Aug. 1865, 3)

-“I do not believe in making my authority as a husband or a father known by brute force; but by a superior intelligence—by showing them that I am capable of teaching them. … If the Lord has placed me to be the head of a family, let me be so in all humility and patience, not as a tyrannical ruler, but as a faithful companion, an indulgent and affectionate father, a thoughtful and unassuming superior; let me be honored in my station through faithful diligence, and be fully capable, by the aid of God’s Spirit, of filling my office in a way to effect the salvation of all who are committed to my charge.” (DNW, 23 July 1862, 2)

-“At times our children may not be in possession of a good spirit; but if the parent continues to possess the good Spirit, the children will have the bad spirit but a short time. … Rule in righteousness, and in the fear and love of God, and your children will follow you.” (DNSW,7 Apr. 1868, 3)

-“Kind looks, kind actions, kind words, and a lovely, holy deportment towards them will bind our children to us with bands that cannot easily be broken; while abuse and unkindness will drive them from us, and break asunder every holy tie that should bind them to us and to the everlasting covenant in which we are all embraced. If my family, and my brethren and sisters will not be obedient to me on the basis of kindness, and a commendable life before all men, and before the heavens, then farewell to all influence.” (DNW, 7 Dec. 1864, 2)

-“You ought always to take the lead of your children in their minds and affections. Instead of being behind with the whip, always be in advance, then you can say, “Come along,” and you will have no use for the rod. They will delight to follow you, and will like your words and ways, because you are always comforting them and giving them pleasure and enjoyment. If they get a little naughty, stop them when they have gone far enough. … When they transgress, and transcend certain bounds we want them to stop. If you are in the lead they will stop, they cannot run over you; but if you are behind they will run away from you.” (DNSW, 8 Dec. 1868, 2–3)

-“A child loves the smiles of its mother, but hates her frowns. I tell the mothers not to allow the children to indulge in evils, but at the same time to treat them with mildness. If a child is required to step in a certain direction, and it does not seem willing to do so, gently put it in the desired way, and say, There, my little dear, you must step when I speak to you. Children need directing and teaching what is right in a kind, affectionate manner.” (DBY, 209)

-“How often we see parents demand obedience, good behavior, kind words, pleasant looks, a sweet voice and a bright eye from a child or children when they themselves are full of bitterness and scolding! How inconsistent and unreasonable this is!” (DBY, 208)

-“Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang.” (DBY, 208).

(Handbook for Families: Disciplining with Love, LDS Ensign Sept. 1985

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