As a Priesthood holder and a father I want my son and daughter grow up as good Latter-day Saints someday, but I have this feeling in me that I’m getting too strict to my kids, limiting their freedom, though I don’t want them to feel that way. It has caused us sometimes husband and wife misunderstanding. I do discipline them because I love them. I want them to understand what is needful and appropriate. How should I do it?
It appears to me that you seem to be doing very well. But as you have implied, the appropriate treatment of teenagers to guide them in the right path is fraught with difficult choices. All we could do would be to offer some possible guidelines. One of the general authorities of the Mormon Church one time said, “Indulgence is worse than neglect.” That seems to be food for thought. Another possibly applicable thought is, “we are always free to make decisions, but we are never free from the consequences of those decision.” The younger the child the more guidance they will require, but the plan is to train them to assume responsibility for their own actions, So it may be well in the teen years to let the children know that they do make their own decisions, but they are always responsible for the consequences of those decisions. This concept may be used when children wish to make decisions contrary to the wishes of their parents or contrary to their own good. One may respect the decisions that the teens make, but ensure that the consequences that have been discussed will ensue. For instance–“It is your choice whether or not you go to church today, but if you decide to stay home you must clean the kitchen, wash the clothes, prepare the evening meal……whatever needs to be done.”