I was in meeting in Tucson Arizona last Sunday. My wife and I were down watching our grandchildren. The teacher talked about Larry Y. Wilson’s talk “Only upon the Principles of Righteousness.” The content was very impressive. One of the phrases in this article that caught my attention was:
Wise parents prepare their children to get along without them. They provide opportunities for growth as children acquire the spiritual maturity to exercise their agency properly.
Letting go of a child, or any other loved-one, allowing them to experience consequences can be very difficult.
As a mental health professional people understanding and living by this concept alone would reduce my business by 1/2 – The other half would be reduced if the Internet disappeared. That’s right no codependence and no porn and I’d be looking for another job!
An individual becoming so preoccupied and worried about someone else’s salvation is a major contributor to emotional distress, like depression. For some reason this is a terribly difficult principle to teach-and to live. How to you teach an individual “the line” where nurturing and direction stops and agency and independence begins? And at what age and for what behavior?
These are very difficult questions for even the most competent person.
Jacob talks about his “firmness in the Spirit” being “shaken” and “stumbling” because “My over anxiety for you.” (Jacob 4:18) To me this suggests as Jacob was preaching to the wicked Nephites against sexual concerns he was aware of “the line” – on one side he was fulfilling his responsibility as a prophet and on the other side if not careful he could become so preoccupied and worried about (over anxiety) saving the Nephites he might jeopardize his own salvation! Typically, the side of the line seeking control is viewed dysfunctional and referred to as “Codependency.”
Well not exactly.
If the parents seek “control” and simply “stop” the behavior, they will forgo recognizing the children’s capacity to learn and to exercise agency. If the parents choose to develop a healthy relationship with the children and teach them “correct principles and they govern themselves” (See: Teach Them Correct Principles, by Boyd K. Packer) they might consider an alternative approach.
The importance of this lesson for future teenage years are easily seen.
An eternal principle
If parents hold on to ALL decision-making power and see it as their ‘right’ they severely limit the growth and development of their children.
Larry Y. Wilson “Only upon the Principles of Righteousness.”