My number one go-to for mothering advice is my sister. Seriously. The world would be a better place if everyone had a sister like her in their life. And since her oldest child is a few years older than my oldest, her advice is invaluable – she was just there!

Last week she and I were talking about what we do, how we respond, when our children make mistakes.

Remember from yesterday:

“Spoiler alert. Our children are going to make poor choices… That’s part of being human.”

It’s not something we have to wonder about – will my child make a mistake? Disobedience is an inevitable part of our human experience.

Our children will be disobedient. It is part of life. It is part of the plan, in fact. We don’t have to wonder about that. But it is something that we need to prepare ourselves for. The way you respond matters!

My sister and I talked about premeditating our responses to our children’s confessions. Maybe they have been looking at pornography. Maybe they stole a pack of gum. Maybe they tried alcohol or drugs. “We love you. We will get through this.”

“We have a couple of options. We can respond with shock and worry and fear, and we will reinforce the shameful thoughts that they’re already having. Or we can respond with compassion and love and trust, like the Savior did when he says to the woman who was brought to him taken in adultery, ‘Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.'”

By the time our children are 10, maybe 11 years old, they know what we expect of them. They know our standards. So, when they make mistakes, lecturing them on our standards will likely not win their hearts, or even help much at all.

And when we get upset about them not living up to our standards, or when we “freak out”, in Jody’s words, we not only shame them, we drive them into secrecy. “Don’t tell her that again. Just hide it. She can’t handle it.”

“And what starts as just a bad habit can turn into a full-on addiction when it’s hidden.  It’s the shaming and the hiding and the secrecy that turns something from a bad habit into an addiction.”

Shame thrives in secrecy. But we can be a safe place for our children and for others – that one person who does not respond in shock and judgement. We have that opportunity.

I want to close with this idea – this is for both you and me, and for our children and even our spouses – it is not only our children that we try and control at times.

“The desire that we have to control our loved ones feels righteous, but it’s really not of Him. It’s Satan’s way of destroying our marriages and our families and individuals.”

So, the idea I want to close with, for all of us, is this: Being more obedient does not make us more worthy of love. Our worth is set. It always has been.

“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh, wherefore he suffered the pain of ALL MEN, that all men might come unto him.”

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