1. Parenting
Quality Time
Spending Time With Your Kids

On our discussion forum we recently had a conversation about the school shootings in Atlanta. About.com LDS Guide Melanie Cooper posted a very detailed list of the steps her family takes to spend quality time together. With Melanie's permission, I've have printed her post here. Whether we happen to share Melanie's faith or not, I thought she offered some good tips that could be incorporated into many different family belief systems.

Melanie's Post:

I have been disturbed by all the recent shootings as well. My children are 8,6,4,and almost 2. We plan on having more but these types of events really have to make me wonder WHY?

Anyhow, here is what our family is doing to hopefully raise children that will be contributing, rather than destructive, members of our community. We are Latter-day Saints so some of these things may seem a bit "religiony" but I decided to post them anyway.

  1. Family prayer morning and night.

  2. Family Home Evening every Monday night. This means getting together for songs, prayer, lesson, activity, and treat. No other activities are allowed on this night.

  3. Family Scripture study everyday.

  4. Monitored television watching. This means that our children don't watch anything that isn't on the Public Station and even then it has to be something we approve of. I am not saying that there aren't other good shows but for us this rule works well. As it turns out our children usually only watch maybe an hour of TV a day if that much.

  5. No movies above a PG rating. That goes for the whole family. In our house if it isn't suitable for children then it isn't suitable for adults. Period. We don't make any exceptions. Even PG movies are considered carefully for their message and content. We use the following sites to help us make our viewing decisions: http://www.screenit.com and http://movieguide.crosswalk.com/

  6. Church attendance every Sunday.

  7. Service orientated projects. This means bringing meals to those in need, visiting the elderly, and participating in other various church service projects.

  8. Reading together as a family. My young children have all enjoyed listening to Little House on the Prairie series, Magician's Nephew, Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe , Charlotte's Web, and most recently, Phantom Menace. :)

  9. Activities to develop personal talents and individuality. This doesn't t always mean paying for some sort of professional lessons. Our second oldest does take gymnastics but our oldest is more academically inclined and for her it means frequent trips to the library, etc.

  10. Chores!!!! This is a big one. Our children have to do a lot of work around the house and though they complain often about it we feel this is a major factor in helping our children to become productive citizens. My husband and I grew up on farms and learned how to work hard at a young age. It has proved to be a great blessing to both of us.

  11. Discipline!!! Psychologists seem to have varying opinions about the effects of discipline on children. Many people are either afraid or don't want to take the time to discipline their children. We feel that children want and need to be disciplined. This doesn't mean beating them to death.. it just means setting standards and then living by them. It means teaching children that there are consequences for their actions. It means teaching them that they alone are responsible for their behavior. It means putting parents back in charge.

  12. Listen. We hold family councils to discuss issues of importance in our home. The children are allowed to give their input or suggestions. We listen and take them seriously.

  13. Respect. We try to foster a feeling of respect in the family. The children are not given separate rooms but must learn to share with each other and get along. They have their fights like any other children but they have no choice but to resolve them and come to terms with each other. They are not allowed to call each other names.

  14. Example!!! We try to teach by our examples. If we don't want our children to do it then we don't do it. Or we try not to... we aren't perfect of course. I think some of the greatest lessons I have learned in my life have not come from lectures my mother gave me but by watching her example of hard work, compassion, and determination to give everything she did her best effort. I will be eternally grateful for her example to me.

    Ok, well, I didn't mean to ramble on and on but just thought I might share a little of what our family is doing to try and teach our children good principles. I know there are many, many, many parents who are all trying to do the same. We live in a day when it is more important than ever to pull our children close to us and teach them well so that as they go out into the world they will be able to make correct choices. This is our stewardship and we will have to make an accounting for it. Not an accounting of our children's actions but an accounting of what we did to teach them correct principles.

    I know that many here may not be religious or of our faith but I thought I might share one more item that I feel is a wonderful statement on families. It was issued by the Prophet of our Church to the entire world. It's called The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

    And one more thought... I am not saying that by doing all these things that our children will turn out perfectly. Every child has free agency and they will have to make their own decisions eventually. I don't want to make it sound like our family is perfect either because it certainly isn't. We have our fights and struggles and trials like any other family. Somedays I wonder if I will ever survive parenting or rather, if my children will ever survive my parenting.

    I hope this message isn't offensive to anyone. Just thought I would share some of the things that our family is doing to try and combat what is happening in the world around us.

    Melanie Cooper
    About.com Guide to Latter-day Saints

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