In today's ever-growingly gritty world, parents often wonder how they will be able to help their children set appropriate standards and then stand by them. The world's fast-changing standards tend to cause deviations from standards we know are right. If we are not careful, we, too, can stray from our set standards and fall by the wayside. So, what can parents do to help their teenagers set their own standards?
With anything worthwhile, parents must begin teaching standards at the very beginning. If you wait until your child is 13 or 14, you have missed the most influential parts of their lives. We have been taught through the years that ages one to five are crucial learning years. While the standards are the same, the complexity through the years may change.
Define the standards-
Society has a set of standards, government has theirs, and many families have theirs-all of which may change along the way, depending on what situation or circumstance. But Heavenly Father's standards do not change. Understanding what the standards are will help teenagers mold their standards to fit.
Teach them correct principles or standards-
Once you have defined the standards in your home, teach them to your children. American religious leader Joseph Smith once wrote, "I teach them correct principles, and [the people] govern themselves." It is in the home where young people are best taught high standards through family home evenings, daily reading out of the scriptures and other good books, conversations at mealtimes, having family time, daddy-daughter dates, and more-the list goes on.
Model the standards by being a good example-
There is no better way to help young people set their standards than by modeling them. If you want your children to not use vulgar language, you cannot use vulgar language. If you want your children to drive the speed limit, you must drive the speed limit. Any deviation from the standards set in your family may give rise to children, especially teenagers, to say "Well, if Dad doesn't do it, why should I"? Consistency is the key.
Teach them who they are-
We must have confidence in our children and teach them they are loved by us and their Heavenly Father. Helping young people understand the love we have for them instills in them the need to follow the highest standards.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it helps parents review their current priorities and standards to make sure they align with correct principles, not the world's plan. The worldly influences will be enormously great as today's youth mature. But with consistency in upholding the defined standards in the home, parents will feel assured they will be able to meet the high stewardship of parenthood.