In parenting, if I have learned anything, it is that you learn as you go. I find myself at each new stage with growing children feeling challenged, frustrated, and looking for any help in any form.
One thing with which I struggle is in finding the balance between having high expectations for my children, but also showing mercy when they fall short of those expectations. Being mortal, they are not perfect, and will fall short. I cannot reasonably expect that they will even go through one day without making a mistake. None of us will. We all live life trying our very best, while making many, many mistakes along the way.
When I find myself in a specific parenting challenge that seems impossible, I try to stop and think about how I am parented from above. How does my Heavenly Father handle this situation with me, his child? God, being God, is bound to high expectations and standards. He cannot deviate from these, and expects his children to follow. But He is also endlessly merciful and patient, and wants in every situation to extend this mercy and patience to his children.
These quotes by Joseph Smith, found here, (pg. 428), give me great insight into this struggle:
"God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them."
"There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand-in-hand with reproof"
This taught me to see that I can and need to set high expectations for my children in our home and in their lives, but when they fall short (and they will), I need to be forgiving, merciful, & long-suffering, just as God is with me.
"I do not dwell upon your faults, and you shall not upon mine. Charity, which is love, covereth a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)