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Parenting Isn’t Easy, and It Shouldn’t Be—Here’s Why

By Mormon.org
Family surrounding a little girl on a bike

Things of greatest value usually require the greatest effort. Often we learn the most through the challenges we face, the difficulties we overcome. That was our Heavenly Father’s plan for us before we came to earth. Prophets and apostles teach that “in the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129). 

The Savior admonished His disciples to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). While we will never be perfect in this life, nor achieve perfection without the Savior’s Atonement, we can grow closer to that goal by following the Savior’s example in our earthly experiences, especially challenging ones like parenting. Through the challenges of parenthood, individuals can gain wisdom and develop traits that bring them closer to the Savior.

What Can Parenting Teach?

Parenting requires patience. Dealing with a house of rambunctious toddlers or navigating the ups and downs of the teenage years allows parents to develop patience.

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Parenting increases kindness. With different personalities, needs, and desires, children look for parents who, through a process of trial and error, exercise kindness and gentleness with them as they grow and develop.

Parenting demands sacrifice. As parents give to children daily, they come to understand the Savior’s perfect sacrifice for all mankind.

Parenting teaches about faith in suffering and grief. Family life is our Father’s plan, but it is challenging. By turning to Jesus Christ in faith, parents can overcome hardships and grow in wisdom and strength.

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Parenting instructs about agency. Often the most difficult thing parents can do is allow their children to fly—and sometimes fall—on their own. In no other way can individuals fully understand and appreciate the agency our Father has given us. 

Parenting develops unconditional love. Our Father in Heaven, our perfect parent, loves us infinitely and personally. Parents can experience that depth of love for their children as they struggle through the challenges of parenthood.

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