Here's something that has helped me lighten up as a parent -- cross posted at Particles of Faith:
Recently, my husband took our son on our ward father's and son's camp
out. My husband spent some good time chatting with a former mission
president around the campfire. They touched on the topic of sending
missionaries home (yes, sometimes LDS missionaries get sent home). My
husband and I have been guilty of taking a letter-of-the-law approach at
times and would probably say in this situation, "Well, if a young man
isn't behaving as he should on his mission, or if he wasn't worthy to
go, then teach him his lesson: send him home."
This loving, kind, former mission president taught us something. He
said that when working with one of these young men, he'd handle it this
way: You can repent and take care of matters while on the mission and
return home honorably, or we can send you home now where you'll face the
embarrassment and shame of coming home early, and it will ruin your
life and probably your involvement with the church (I'm sure he made it
sound much nicer than that). Rather than making these young men
miserable, he wanted to help them be successful. What a charitable
I realized that I need to do better and give people the benefit of the
doubt and to be more compassionate. It's not my job to lay down the
law; it's my job to show love and mercy as the Savior did and make life
better for others. I can leave the judging up to our Father in Heaven.
Not only does this help me be less judgmental of others, but it also,
for some reason, helps me lighten up with raising my children. I don't
have to be too strict. I don't have to make them be little adults.
They can be kids and have fun, and I can have fun with them and be a
guide when they struggle just like that former mission president was
with his struggling missionaries.