marriage: parent & adult child relationships

How are we supposed to treat the parent-adult child or in-law relationships in our lives? This is a question that has almost plagued me in my marriage. My hubby and I come from completely different backgrounds! The longer we are married, the more opposite we seem because of how we were raised. He folds his socks as matches are made. I put all the socks into a pile and then match and fold them at the end of the other folding. His family goes boating on Sundays, mine barely lays a finger out the front door (except for church responsibilities). Our families carry different standards and values, and somehow my hubby and I ended up together.

I was asked by a friend of mine what I know and have studied about extended family relationships and thought of how much I really needed to revamp my knowledge on extended family and what parent-adult child relationships should be like.

My first thoughts took me to the scriptures (most answers can be found in those things!). I first went to the Book of Mormon and looked at the relationship of Nephi and his father Lehi. Nephi obeys his father’s desires to leave Jerusalem, to go get the plates, and then to get a wife (but who wouldn’t obey that one? I mean, Laman and Lemuel followed that one straightway). But Nephi didn’t just blindly follow his father… he chose for himself. This is apparent in the Tree of Life vision. Lehi shared his vision and then Nephi asked for himself. I also love that Nephi came away with different and more in-depth answers to that vision. So how can this relate to the parent-adult child relationships we have?

The other story that I read about in Patricia Russel’s talk is on Ruth and Naomi in the bible (Building Good In-Law Relationships By Patricia Russell). Even though these two women were only family through marriage, the love and devotion they had to one another is a perfect example of what our relationships can and should be with our in-laws. Easier said than done right? Right.

So in order to have in-laws, we need to have a spouse! And the idea of marriage has been in God’s plan since day one. Cue Adam and Eve!

Adam and Eve are my ultimate role models of how to create a good marriage. If you are in a jam, it seems that these two have the answers. In Genesis 2 the Lord creates man. After creating Adam, the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and out of Adam’s rib, he created Eve. This scripture follows, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). To cleave means to be loyal, devoted, and steadfast. It is important for husbands and wives to heed this counsel and apply it in their marriage. Adam wasn’t complete until he had a wife and vice versa. It wasn’t that Adam was complete with God, his father.

The role of mother, father, son and daughter cannot be expected to stay the same when a child gets married. Parents will need to give up their previous roles and allow independence. However, the couple will need to realize that there are previous relationships that existed before they came along and that even though this will change, the change won’t be a onetime thing.

As a couple, you have to create your own marriage identity. Kind of like how Nephi took the vision and got his own interpretation out of it; couples can take what they have been taught and decided for themselves what will define them as “one flesh.” President Spencer W. Kimball talked about the following three things: a couple needs to confide and counsel with each other, a couple needs to establish their household separately from parents, and a couple needs to prayerfully consider counsel from outside sources together. This will help you and your spouse define boundaries. In Helping and Healing our Families it states, “It helps a…married couple to think of themselves as existing together inside an invisible fence” p.328. So information stays in and people stay out.

This is really tough to do. In my life, sometimes this isn’t possible. My hubby works for his parents. He talks to and sees them at least twice as much as he does me. There is communication that goes on between them that I cannot be a part of; business and personal communication. So not only does that happen, but he is so busy that I cannot get a hold of him to communicate as much as I may think necessary for our relationship. It is a heavy burden to bear. But I am grateful for how wonderful we do communicate when time is made… and for how much sacrifice I know it sometimes is for my hubby to listen to my incessant phone calls :)

This invisible fence that is created needs to be discussed often to protect, maintain and heal if needed. I think especially for women (and especially for me in my situation), this fence is really important to give women a sense of security in marriage. Especially for them to feel that they are not in the fenced area alone and their hubby in a fenced area with his parents.

Sometimes there are intrusions between parents and children (a couple) into this invisible fence. Intrusions can be physically (coming over too much) and emotionally (opinions and expectations). Enmeshment is when parents and children feel they always have to be together and there is no room for excuses. It can cause lots of strife and burden in the pressure of making it to family events if a family is enmeshed. If something like this is happening , it is more likely that parents are dealing with their emotional issues and you aren’t the issue. So what can you do if enmeshment is happening? An option comes from Helping and Healing Families. It says, “they (children) may want to express love and gratitude, explain they have a need to further strengthen their couple identity, and explain how the expectations for being together with the family are getting in the way of their couple relationship.” Do this in a respectful and humble manner.

So what can parents do or not do to strengthen their relationships with their in-laws and adult children? Gloria Horsley in The In-law Survival Manual: A Guide to Cultivating Health In-law Relationships says parents can strengthen that relationship by avoiding these things:

  1. 1- giving advice
  2. 2- criticizing
  3. 3- pinning down children in-law as to the specific reasons they are missing a family event
  4. 4- taking over discipline of grandchildren
  5. 5- trying to control everyone and everything including children in-law’s beliefs
  6. 6- indirect and unclear communication

If a parent-in-law does things right the effect can be eternally positive and long felt. What are the right things? I am sure as a parent-in-law, you don’t feel like you can do anything right. Well, I am sure your daughter-in-law or son-in-law feels the same way. Being mindful and respecting their different backgrounds, beliefs and standards is a good start. Not feeling defensive that they married your son/daughter. Don’t expect them to do things the way you do… it might be nice to share with them what you have done as a family (traditions, routines, etc). Give them space and “open the doors” to your world and let them come in. Don’t force them to do something they have reservations about. Prayerfully consider when to step in and when to allow space.

What can you do as a child and in-law to strengthen your relationships with your spouse’s and your own family? First, you need to set boundaries for what is allowed. This is to be done together between you and your spouse. Don’t have your spouse be the go between for you and your in-laws!!! It causes mistrust and can damage future growth of relationships. Contacting your families together regularly is also important; it shows that your relationship with them is something you value. When you are comfortable, disclose personal information that will open their eyes to who you are and what you believe. Communicate openly, accept differences, and use empathy to further these relationships.

Overall, I believe that the most important thing for both parents and married children to use is forgiveness and repentance. With each new marriage comes new experiences, trials, and joys. We are not perfect and therefore, you cannot expect them to be perfect. We can let these things hinder us, or make us stronger. How much more joy we can feel if we open our hearts to new growth and love.

So how is your relationship with your parents and in-laws? What can you do to strengthen that relationship?

I know that the family unit is ordained of God. It has been established since day one with Adam and Eve and is meant to be a central focus of this earthly life. Our relationships are eternal and we have to develop them into the kind of relationships that are positive… now. Not waiting for the other to initiate the growth. You need to step in. Create that imaginary fence with your spouse so that security is fastened and then you can pursue your other relationships knowing that you and your spouse are on the same page and will support one another.

Remember the Lord commanded us to leave our parents and cleave unto our spouse. What can you do today to cleave?

Further Reading and Resouces

The Proclamation to the World: the Family

Helping and Healing our Families: Chapter 37 Edited by Craig H. Hart, Lloyd D. Newell, Elaine Walton, and David C. Dollahite

Strengthening Our Families: An in-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family Edited by David C. Dollahite

Building Good In-Law Relationships by Patricia Russell

The In-law Survival Manual: A Guide to Cultivating Health In-law Relationships by Gloria Horsley


parenting–the story of the sunglasses

my daughter loves these… and can I say L-O-V-E-S them! it is really the only thing that she regularly needs for home and the car.

today we ran errands… and the glasses, of course, came along.

lately I have been listening to Parenting with  Love and Logic, yet again. I pull this thing out like every 4 months. Learning how to parent isn’t a one time thing people!

So I suggested A leave her toys and glasses in the car while we went into the first store. since I left it up to her, she chose to bring her glasses in the store. I told her that since she chose to bring them in, they were her responsibility and I wouldn’t hold them. she sure did well keeping them on her person for the first little while… and even got compliments from the clerks there.

we checked out and headed back to the car. we got in and turned out of the parking lot… and then the crying began. she had left her glasses somewhere in the store! couldn’t tell me where and I didn’t remember where… my natural mother was kicking in and I was ready to turn around.

HOWEVER, Love and Logic to the rescue… I realized that I wasn’t approaching this right. If I turned around, I would not only have to unpack us all (screaming baby too) and be 1/2 behind, but she wouldn’t learn anything from that. So I kept driving… instead of taking the problem onto myself, I needed to keep out of it. I couldn’t solve this for her. As she cried for her glasses, my heart broke. I wanted to cry with her. I was genuinely sorry for her, and I made sure to tell her that I was so sorry she was feeling this way. Truly I was!

So I asked her what she thought she needed to do about it and her answer was, “we can see if they have them next time we go with my daddy.” so sweet and so sincere. Of course I would check next time we went… which will be like tomorrow (Hobby Lobby does that to me).  Then she asked to call Mima and tell her about it.

So will she actually learn from this? Love and Logic says that she will.

I am happy to say, the story doesn’t stop here… to Target we went. When she was getting out of the car, she had a toy in her hand. Again I suggested (not told, because that would just cause a power struggle) she leave her toy in the car and didn’t even mention the past episode. She told me, “Don’t worry mom, I won’t loose this one.” So I let her bring it in…

She held onto that thing the WHOLE time! And I am happy to say, the toy made it home. So yes, lesson learned.

*Here is the disclaimer about this parenting lesson- as I started typing this, my heart softened yet again. I started feeling so bad about my choice to not go back and get the sunglasses. Second guessing, I called my mom and asked her if I did the right thing. But she shed light on the situation again- it is painful to watch your children deal with consequences of their choices. But if you step in now, you may always step in. This has been hard… I sort of felt like, if I left something somewhere as an adult, I would have the independence to go back and get the object. As a child, there isn’t that independence to just turn around and go get it… so how rude am I? But for me, I am constantly thinking about the items that I am taking with me and I have learned responsibility. She hasn’t quite learned that yet. I decided that it was better she learn this with a pair of sunglasses now, then with an MP3 player in 5 years.

Hard. Hard. Hard.

**Next disclaimer… just because I used Love and Logic fairly well this time, doesn’t mean I remember to use it all the time. I am so not perfect… for example, last night I snapped at a to give me the GPS and she replied, “mom, I am just finding how to get home.” Ooo… she was totally just helping… my bad. And then I apologized. I was so in the wrong and was so selfish in my impatience.

Have you ever stayed out of a situation with your child to help them learn? Or are you stepping in too much? If you are stepping in too much, your challenge is to leave the problem and solution to your child, but show and do it kindly and with empathy.


berry trifle

This is the recipe to the trifle that I have made HUNDREDS of times because it is SO easy and so good!!! You will be licking the bowl… promise!  I like to let Abi help me too. she is great at breaking the angel food cake and licking the beaters :)IMG_9302


2- 8oz pkg of cream cheese

2 c. powdered sugar

1 c. sour cream

2 small cont. cool whip

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond

cream together sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and almond

either two bags of frozen berries or use fresh (that is what I do)

1 1/2 angel food cakes broken into pieces

layer cake, fruit, and cream mixture


parenting–teens - it’s not just you


situation 1: my mom chats with me over gmail this past week. she told me all about her struggles trying to layout and organize the expectations and schedule for this coming school year. she has just my younger brother left at home and he is a senior (yikes!) anyway, she was distraught because she felt like nothing she said penetrated that thick skulled teenager (my words, not hers :). she felt down and defeated because a couple of days previous, she and I discussed Love and Logic principles to help her out in this situation… letting him choose consequences, laying out the rules of the family so there are not questions to be asked, deciding on how to go about the process of answering all the w questions when he goes out (who, what, where, why, etc). she felt good about what she decided to do about it and I knew just from talking to her that her intentions were spot on with trying to set things so there wasn’t problems in the coming months. let’s just say, it was a complete fail! I felt so bad for her…

situation 2: I took my sweet family to Ross to get some much needed shoes for the hubby and a birthday gift for little miss A who turned three on Saturday. Here we are at the shoe rack and I am suggesting a whole bunch of good looking pairs of shoes to my hubby… who is unresponsive to my suggestions. then we overheard this conversation between a mother and teenage son…

mom- have you looked at these (pointing at the size 11 rack)

son- yes mom (kind of put out)

mom- what about these (holding up a really nice pair of shoes, but after looking at the boy, DEFINITELY not his style)

son- moooom! DON’T choose shoes for me!

My hubby and I looked at eachother and smirked, but I realized the truth… and stopped suggesting pairs of shoes to my hubby.

As the girls in the family moved on to the toys, leaving dad behind, my thoughts turned to my mom. I wanted her to hear this conversation so bad! it made me realize that we really aren’t alone as we think we are. she just wanted to throw in the towel on trying to be a good parent. but as I have thought about this, I would rather have my children remember that I was suggesting shoes that weren’t in their style than having them remember that I wasn’t available to take them shoe shopping for school. I hope these situations can lift the souls of those who need strength to keep going.

“Discipline is doing what you know needs to be done even though you don’t want to”

Keep it up mothers!


a successful family

Eternal Families are central to God’s plan. Every person who comes to earth gains not only a but also comes into a “family” by a mother and father. Understood that we all have different backgrounds and circumstances, but these two things are universal for every person. It all started with Adam and Eve… they were brought together as a family to grow a family.

In a family, we learn some of the most important things we need in this life and for the next life… we learn how to become more like our Heavenly Father. Harold B. Lee taught, “The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.”

The devil tries with all his might to break up families… and how successful he seems! He seeks to destroy families by drawing them away from God. He will tempt us to do things that draw our families apart. In my life right now I can see this happening so literally. My hubby has been working two hours away. It started off as once a week (about 2 months ago)and now it is 5 days a week. In order to not have a 4 hours commute daily, he has been staying up next to his work in an RV and will come home on the weekends. As we have struggled and talked about all our options for how to keep our family together, I have felt these thoughts creep into my head that him being gone for the whole week is the best thing ever… and we shouldn’t do anything about our situation in getting closer to one another. But I know this isn’t the right thing… so I continue to look for housing that will fit our needs. I don’t want to move (not one bit) but will do it for my family. (For those who know me, this isn’t the first time I have moved to save my family).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has declared that, “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities” (ensign, november 1995, pg 102). This is a list that can take lots and lots of work… our whole lives and some to accomplish! It can seem overwhelming… which in most cases it does with me. But here are some things that will help us feel happy in our families and will probably accomplish a lot of accomplishing the principles above.

How to have a Successful Family:

1. Have family prayer every night and morning - 3 Nephi 18:21. Pray together as husband and wife

2. Teach children the gospel every week in family home evening

3. Study the scriptures regularly as a family

4. Do things together as a family such as work, projects, outings, and decision making

5. Learn to be kind, patient, long-suffering, and charitable – Moroni 7:45-48

6. Attend church meetings regularly – D&C 59:9-10

7. Follow the counsel of the Lord in D&C 88:119: “Organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”

8. Keep a family history, perform temple work together, and receive the sealing ordinances of the temple.


So will you do today and this week to help to achieve success in your family? Choose one or two of these things above and focus on them this week! I would love to hear what you are doing or plan to do this week…



To all my friends who use pinterest!!! I don’t know of a better way to get a hold of most of you except to post something on here…

I have loved this site and have gotten so inspired by it; however, I have noticed that there are people posting a lot of images and quotes that are offensive to the spirit. I have tried to screen them out, but there is no way to make a search safe. Not only that, but the user agreement states that pins should be clean…

Please help me keep this site clean by writing a complaint to Pinterest! hi@pinterest.com

Thanks much!

If you need some help constructing a letter, this is what I wrote:

Dear Pinterest:

I love your website! I am a pinning addict! However, over the past couple of weeks I have noticed an increasing amount of offensive photos being pinned on your website. There is no way to flag them or to screen them out of my searching. I am contemplating leaving pinterest because I don't want to look at any type of photo or quote that uses profane language or is pornographic. I have loved being a member, but don't want these images, suggestions, and statements in my head. 

I read your statement of use and each person who gets an account agrees not to pin offensive photos or quotes... but this isn't being enforced. Please do something so that I and others can enjoy a clean, worry-free website!


Claire Thomas


grab your firebolt!!!

This is the funniest thing I have seen in so long! I laughed out loud! And for those that read my post last week… that was a hard task to accomplish.

Fav part: when the guy books it for platform 9 3/4…. so great!

necklaces for the ball

A’s friend S (4 years old) came over yesterday and we make pasta necklaces that I had found to do in the Family Fun magazine… I love that magazine. The girls made them to “go to the ball.” here they are getting ready to go…


making the necklaces…


Dried pasta soaks up food coloring remarkably well. The finished "beads" are easy for little hands to string into necklaces.

  • dried pasta
  • 2 teaspoons of vinegar
  • 10 to 12 drops of food coloring
  • ziplock bag
  • yarn and twist tie
  • paper towels
  1. For each color, mix about 2 teaspoons of vinegar with 10 to 12 drops of food coloring (we used both regular and neon colors) in a ziplock bag.

  2. Add 1/2 cup of dried pasta (we used ziti and rigatoni) to each bag and shake it to cover the pasta with dye. Leave the pasta in the dye for about 5 minutes, shaking it occasionally.

  3. Next, spoon the pasta out of the bag, placing it on paper towels. After about 15 minutes, turn the pasta pieces over. Let them dry completely. I used a blow dryer to speed things up :)

  4. Tie one pasta piece to the end of a length of yarn to act as a stopper. For a simple needle, fold a twist tie around the other end of the yarn and twist its ends to secure.