Train your children to a habit of obedience. No habit,
I suspect, has such an influence over our lives as this.
Parents, determine to make your children obey you
–though it may cost you much trouble–and cost them
many tears! Let there be no questioning, and reasoning,
and disputing, and delaying, and answering back. When
you give them a command, let them see plainly that you
will have it done.
It ought to be the mark of well-trained children, that they
cheerfully do whatever their parents command them. Where,
indeed, is the honor which the fifth commandment enjoins,
if fathers and mothers are not obeyed cheerfully, willingly,
and at once?
Parents, do you wish to see your children happy?
Take care, then, that you train them to obey when
they are spoken to–to do as they are told.
To my eyes, a parent always yielding–and a child
always having its own way–are a most painful sight!
Painful, because I feel sure the consequence to that
child’s character in the end will be self-will, pride,
Parents, if you love your children, let obedience be a
motto and a watchword continually before their eyes!
Learn to say “No” to your children. Show them that you
are able to refuse whatever you think is not fit for them.
Show them that you are ready to punish disobedience,
and that when you speak of punishment, you are not
only ready to threaten, but also to perform. Do not
merely threaten. Threatened folks, and threatened faults,
live long. Punish seldom, but really and earnestly. Frequent
and slight punishment is a wretched system indeed.
Beware of letting small faults pass unnoticed under the
idea “it is a little one.” There are no little things in training
children–all are important. Little weeds need plucking up as
much as any. Leave them alone, and they will soon become
Parents, if there be any point which deserves your attention,
believe me, it is this one. It is one that will give you trouble,
I know. But if you do not take trouble with your children when
they are young–they will give you trouble when they are old!
Choose which you prefer.
Do not be afraid, above all, that such a plan of training will
make your child unhappy. I warn you against this delusion.
Depend on it, there is no surer road to unhappiness than
always having our own way. To be indulged perpetually is
the way to be made selfish–and selfish people and spoiled
children, believe me, are seldom happy.