“How can I support my child in his or her repentance process?” Help for Parents (2019)
“How can I support my child in his or her repentance process?” Help for Parents
Teaching our children the doctrine of Christ—that we must all have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end—helps them understand the context of their choices and mistakes (see 2 Nephi 31). As we teach that repentance brings joy, increased self-worth, and spiritual progression, our children can grow in their desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ.
We can support our children as they grow and come to understand personal accountability. Loving and nurturing children who are struggling to make good choices is important, especially when they feel ashamed and may be hesitant to approach us for help. We should help them understand accountability while also helping them feel the Savior’s love and encouragement.
Being involved in our children’s spiritual progress and growth is important. We should be a part of their first line of defense against pornography. One of the ways we can do this is by following the Savior’s example and helping our children grow as He would. We can look to the scriptures for examples of how the Savior helps and supports us through times of weakness. His perfect love helps us to grow and change; not only does He nurture us and help us understand our divine worth, but He also corrects us and helps us change so we can find true happiness. As we study Christ’s example, we can learn how to lovingly correct our children and guide them along the path to happiness.
We can help our children by testifying of our own experiences with repentance. Sharing how the Holy Ghost has prompted, corrected, encouraged, and helped us to repent dispels fear around repentance. Additionally, as we teach of Christ, our children have the opportunity to become followers of Christ and to understand that they need to make changes.
Helping our children understand the role of the bishop in the process of repentance and healing is also important. As we teach about the priesthood and priesthood keys, we can help our children trust in the power of God that can be felt as we turn to Him for needed help. Together with our children, we can determine whether they need to discuss their pornography use with the bishop. If our children do need to meet with the bishop, we can offer to go with and support them.
As we continually seek to build and nurture relationships of trust with our children, we can encourage them to discuss difficult challenges associated with poor choices. We can be one of our children’s greatest supports, and we can work together toward healing and growth.
Here are some ideas that others have found helpful. Prayerfully consider what actions might be best for your family, taking into account that those actions may or may not be listed here.
Study and teach the doctrine of Christ, focusing particularly on the joy of repentance. The talk by Elder Dale G. Renlund “Repentance: A Joyful Choice” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 121–24) may be a useful resource.
Seek to understand your parental role as a teacher. Pray to know how to be the first source of truth for your child. Consider reading Tad R. Callister’s talk “Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 32–34).
Help your child to understand the role of the bishop in helping him or her grow and repent (see “Bishop,” Gospel Topics, topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Discuss what to expect during a meeting with the bishop, and offer to go with him or her.
Continually strive to build and maintain a healthy and open relationship with your child through communication, spending time together, and appropriate physical touch.