Pre-war child discipline

A CRISIS in parenthood always arises when the need to give out punishment occurs. I am strongly against smacking children for wrong-doing. It only breeds resentment in a child, and can we expect it to do anything else? It is an indignity to be smacked by an enraged parent It is unpleasant for both parties, I know, but the parent forgets in time – the child, never.

After all, there are days when I am irritable, but why should I smack a child for feeling irritable? No one smacks me I There are things I do not like to eat, so why should I force a child to cat what he does not like? No one forces me!

I cannot blame a child for making mistakes when I make so many myself, for I am far from being perfect. I should not be worthy of my children’s respect if I took advantage of their defenceless position and smacked them just because I couldn’t control my temper – for that is all it amounts to. ‘

I am convinced that good upbringing can be achieved without smacking, and I am trying hard to find out if I am right, by enlisting the co-operation of the children themselves.

They are trying to be good children and I am trying to be a good parent – that makes us chums. We are bound to have our good days and our bad days, and I hope the children will be as tolerant with me on my bad days as I try to be with them on theirs. This is my own theory of parenthood, but results so far justify my hopes that I am working on the right lines. I notice that each of the children has a different personality; they are little individuals with minds of their own.

Don’t think my youngsters get all their own way. On the contrary, they know that when I say a thing I mean it. I never break my word, and that earns me their respect.

There are times when punishments are necessary. I have a system of stopping part of the children’s weekly pocket-money for bad behaviour – that hurts more than smacking.

Each child gets one shilling a week regular pocket-money, and this is added to, or deductions are made, according to weekly behaviour. I am consistent with rewards and punishments and the children themselves agree that I play fair.

I award good-behaviour marks for table manners; for jobs done to help one anodier without being asked; for good deeds for the week and for tidiness. And I encourage each child to put something by in savings stamps each week.

It is wise to encourage a child to have a hobby. Have you ever thought of working up a music circle in the family? Let the youngsters have a musical programme in the home once a week and prepare programmes for guest nights when they can invite their friends to hear favourite records and include the records that their little guests bring.

I think we all might use music – good music – more in the home. A child loves to amuse itself by marching to music, and it is a good thing to use music to send the children to sleep at night and awaken them in the morning.

Some youngsters love to make things with their hands. See that they get suitable instruction books – simple little books at first about the making of simple things. As they get older they can have books that are more advanced.

When choosing books for children, make sure that they are about things that suit the children’s personalities and hobbies. You will soon note what type of book pleases by watching the child.

Give a good book each birthday and on special occasions. Children cannot have too many good books. And when children get out of hand, read to them – it settles their nerves and your own straight away.

Don’t say: ‘Stop dreaming.’ Children need to dream; to be left alone to sit and do nothing. They are not lazy; in their little minds they are inventing, planning, lost in a world of make-believe magic where string and nails make magic carpets that can achieve miracles. books help children to live exciting lives.

Speech is important to children, and parents should see that they get every chance to read aloud. Happy is the child whose hobby is elocution, for good speech will get a man or woman anywhere. Elocution not only teaches the value of good speech and correct breathing; it helps the younger child to overcome an inferiority complex that sometimes results from the domineering attitude of elder brothers and sisters.

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