Tuesday, January 5, 2021

on Agency & Contention

This is the question I studied yesterday: "How can we handle disagreements without becoming contentious?"

There has been so much contention in our home over my son's poor choices regarding behavior online. And I'm beyond tired of it.

As a parent I've been trying my best to stand in the way of him destroying himself, but that has come at the price of the emotional well-being of us all.

When I read the above quote ("When we are unable to change the conduct of others we will go about the task of properly governing ourselves." -Marvin J. Ashton) I thought, the time has come to let go and let my son do what he's going to do, because I cannot stop him. Despite my best efforts of teaching, guiding, limiting access, pleading, and reasoning.

So as of yesterday, I'm focusing on governing myself and letting God take the wheel on my son and his risky behavior while I work to restore the spirit of peace in our home...and teaching those who want light and truth.

Agency is inconvenient at times, but so important, and I'm sure it's a lesson I won't appreciate until I'm all the way done learning it.


  1. Dear Jocelyn, You are learning what Heavenly Father knows: that He can't stop His children's poor/bad choices without destroying the very thing that makes this mortal boarding school an essential step in our progression--agency! Through facing our children's poor choices I have learned that love and acceptance go much further than lecturing and nagging. I've learned that complimenting the good and ignoring the bad will earn me their trust, and that I have to "let go and let God" watch over them. It's very, very hard and there will be many tears, especially on days when other mothers get up in testimony meeting and read their missionary's letters and such. But, I cherish the fact that my boys call me regularly, come home for holidays and reunions, hug me and thank me for never giving up on them. Perhaps a little letting go will ease the tension and allow the Spirit to touch hearts. My prayers are with you! Many hugs from one mom to another.

  2. Hugs to you! Parenting teens and Young adults is hard! Love is most important! I learned his and continue to. There are things we don’t allow in our home, it is our only refuge, especially during Covid and with the Columbus temple closed for construction after that. Keep open communication and respect. Love. Study Heavenly Father! Best parenting books are the scriptures. Hang in there. He is/ they are good kids making their way in an evil world.

  3. I'm so sorry, I have lived through this very thing. I don't know how old your son is, mine was 18. He would not stop playing violent video games in front of my 4 , 7, and 11 year old. He was also looking at inappropriate things on line. He had to be asked to move out. He had dropped out of school 3 months before he graduated. Despite my best efforts of getting him there, he would just walk out. So outside of sitting outside the school I couldn't prevent it. Mistake number 1 letting him own a car and work a job. It's ok to let them drive, but once they have a car of their own and a job they don't need you. A job is ok if they are willing to stay in line with graduating, but the car gives them freedom you dont want them to have yet.

    Mistake number 2 send him to his room when he is being hurtful. Send him outside to work. Pay attention to his friends. Teenagers always start taking on their friends hurts. If they have horrible parents all the sudden you are a horrible parent too. Not kidding, I've seen it consistently with four teens. Talk to your teens early, try to pry out information about their friends. Ask them what their friends relationships are with their parents... talk about those feelings. Take them out for icecream weekly. I call it mom and me night. we either get ice cream, a soda and a candy, then we watch a movie together. their choice. The drive to the circle k or the icecream place is where you get the conversation going, it's only a teen thing. Once the teen is at the end of their age start mom and me nights. Otherwise you will be overwhelmed.

    It helps, don't give up, I brought my 16 year old back from the obiss and he is now planning a mission I really feel mom and me nights was key...