18 Valuable Parenting Tips and Stories from Church Leaders

Elder L. Tom Perry

Former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Be Present at Home

My children taught me a great lesson one day. We had moved from California to New York where I had accepted an employment opportunity and we were in the process of finding a new home. We started close to the city, but each day that passed we would move further out to find a home more suited to our needs. In Connecticut, we found just the one. It was a beautiful home nestled in New England’s radiant forests. We were all pleased with the selection. The final test before making an offer for purchase was to ride the train into New York to check out the commuting time. I made the trip and returned very discouraged. The trip required an hour and a half each way. I returned to the motel where my family was waiting for me and gave them the choice of having a father or this new home. Much to my surprise, they said, “We will take the home. You are not around much anyway.”

The shock of that statement was overwhelming to me. If that statement was true, I needed to repent fast. My children deserved a father. Is it not our obligation as fathers to spend as much time as possible with our children, to teach them honesty, industry, and morality?

From the talk “Father—Your Role, Your Responsibility

Create a Strong Family Culture

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In our remarkable parental stewardship, there are many ways that goodly parents can access the help and support they need to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children. Let me suggest five things parents can do to create stronger family cultures:

First, parents can pray in earnest, asking our Eternal Father to help them love, understand, and guide the children He has sent to them.

Second, they can hold family prayer, scripture study, and family home evenings and eat together as often as possible, making dinner a time of communication and the teaching of values.

Third, parents can fully avail themselves of the Church’s support network, communicating with their children’s Primary teachers, youth leaders, and class and quorum presidencies. By communicating with those who are called and set apart to work with their children, parents can provide essential understanding of a child’s special and specific needs.

Fourth, parents can share their testimonies often with their children, commit them to keep the commandments of God, and promise the blessings that our Heavenly Father promises His faithful children.

Fifth, we can organize our families based on clear, simple family rules and expectations, wholesome family traditions and rituals, and “family economics,” where children have household responsibilities and can earn allowances so that they can learn to budget, save, and pay tithing on the money they earn.

From the talk “Becoming Goodly Parents

Sister Carole M. Stephens

Former First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

Take Time to Explain

When our oldest daughter, Jen, brought her third daughter home from the hospital, I went to her home to help. After getting her oldest daughter off to school, we decided that what Jen needed most was rest. So the best help I could give was to take her daughter Chloe home with me so her mom and new baby sister could have some quiet time.

I buckled Chloe into her car seat, secured my own seat belt, and drove out of their driveway. However, before we reached the end of the street, Chloe had unbuckled her seat belt and was standing up, looking over my shoulder, and talking to me! I pulled the car over to the side of the road, got out, and buckled her back into her seat.We started again but had gone only a short distance when she was out of her seat again. I repeated the same steps, but this time before I could even get back into the car and fasten my own seat belt, Chloe was already standing up!

I found myself sitting in a car, parked on the side of the road, having a power struggle with a 3-year-old. And she was winning!

I used every idea I could think of to convince her that remaining fastened in her car seat was a good idea. She was not convinced! I finally decided to try the if/then approach.

I said, “Chloe, if you will stay buckled in your car seat, then as soon as we get to Grandma’s house, we can play with play dough.”

No response.

“Chloe, if you will stay buckled in your seat, then we can make bread when we get to Grandma’s house.”

No response.

I tried again. “Chloe, if you will stay buckled in your seat, then we can stop at the market for a treat!”
After three attempts, I realized this was a futile exercise. She was determined, and no amount of if/then was enough to convince her to remain fastened in her seat.

We couldn’t spend the day sitting on the edge of the road, but I wanted to be obedient to the law, and it wasn’t safe to drive with Chloe standing up. I offered a silent prayer and heard the Spirit whisper, “Teach her.”

I turned to face her and pulled my seat belt away from my body so she could see it. I said, “Chloe, I am wearing this seat belt because it will protect me. But you aren’t wearing your seat belt, and you won’t be safe. And I will be so sad if you get hurt.”

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She looked at me; I could almost see the wheels turning in her little mind as I waited anxiously for her response. Finally, her big blue eyes brightened, and she said, “Grandma, you want me to wear my seat belt because you love me!”

The Spirit filled the car as I expressed my love for this precious little girl. I didn’t want to lose that feeling, but I knew I had an opportunity, so I got out and secured her in her car seat. Then I asked, “Chloe, will you please stay in your car seat?” And she did—all the way to the market for a treat! And she stayed buckled all the way from the market to my home, where we made bread and played with play dough because Chloe did not forget!

From the talk “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments

Elder Richard G. Scott

Former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Share Your Testimony

When I was a young child, my father was not a member of the Church and my mother had become less active. We lived in Washington, D.C., and my mother’s parents lived 2,500 miles (4,000 km) away in the state of Washington. Some months after my eighth birthday, Grandmother Whittle came across the country to visit us. Grandmother was concerned that neither I nor my older brother had been baptized. I don’t know what she said to my parents about this, but I do know that one morning she took my brother and me to the park and shared with us her feelings about the importance of being baptized and attending Church meetings regularly. I don’t remember the specifics of what she said, but her words stirred something in my heart, and soon my brother and I were baptized.

Grandmother continued to support us. I remember that anytime my brother or I was assigned to give a talk in church, we would call her on the telephone for some suggestions. Within a few days a handwritten talk would arrive by mail. After some time her suggestions changed to an outline requiring more effort on our part. Grandmother used just the right amount of courage and respect to help our father recognize the importance of his driving us to the church for our meetings. In every appropriate way, she helped us to feel a need for the gospel in our lives.

Most importantly, we knew Grandmother loved us and that she loved the gospel. She was a marvelous example! How grateful I am for the testimony she shared with me when I was very young. Her influence changed the direction of my life for eternal good.

From the talk “I Have Given You an Example

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