I SHOULD not like it if someone was continually criticizing me, yet that is what we mothers seem to do where our children of school age are concerned.
Up to five years, everything a child does is wonderful and is talked about with pride to friends and relatives. But after that the youngster seems to do nothing right – at least, it must seem that way to him. You know how it goes – ‘I’m not going to tell you again not to do that’; ‘When will you learn to do as you are told? ‘j ‘Why were you so late in getting home from school? ‘or ‘Look at that blouse – only on clean this morning.’ And so it could go on. We mothers get into the habit of grousing at our schoolchildren.
Oh yes, we have reason to criticize from our point of view, but goodness me, remember the child’s. Children cannot answer back or we call them cheeky, but take that soiled blouse for instance – can it be avoided if school desks are dirty? ‘Why were you home late from school? ‘Children resent this questioning when they come home tired and hungry. They are apt to get muddled and forget just what they did to be late when they are bullied and shouted at But ask the child quietly what discovery he made on the way home to make him late, and you will at once get stories that for beauty of thought and imagination will astonish you.
Little girls will gaze for a long time in a shoe-shop window and see fairies dancing in the lovely slippers. Little boys will have seen cowboys ‘riding rough ‘because they saw a few toy guns and horses in a toy-shop window. You will hear all about the new baby at the end of the road and how ‘Mrs. Jones let me wheel it, Mum.’
Yes, you will hear many wonderful things if you have the patience to tackle this problem quietly.
Then, when their little story is told, it will be your turn to tell them how worried you were and how you want them to hurry home as fast as they can with their stories, for you are in all day alone and long for them to return.
Why should wc boss our children? We need to put a lot of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ into our conversation with our children before wc check them for omitting these courtesies.
I am trying hard to co-operate with the children. Their little minds are so active. Sometimes they forget what they are sent for the minute they have left the room. There is so much that they want to do that it’s easy to confuse them by nagging.
I try to teach my children to tell the truth; to be honest and unselfish/ – not by preaching at them, but by the way we all live. I never discuss anyone in front of them, or ask them to help me out with white lies. When I show them that what they do is wrong, I also explain that I did just what they are doing when I was a child and that my mother had to show me what was right, in just the way that I am showing them.
Then there is the question of obedience. Many parents are so insistent about it that their children obey from a sense of fear; I don’t want my children to be like that.
I don’t want them ever to feel that they have to lie to avoid being found out. I tell them that I shall never be angry if they tell the truth, but I shall punish them if I find they tell lies.