Book Title: The Real Home
Blessed is the mother who has tact; her every wish in not expressed as a command, Children appreciate being treated as reasonable beings. To slap, cuff, shake, and whip continually, after the fashion of some mothers, does not implant a desire to do right, nor correct the faults for which punishment is administered….
Some mothers have tried methods which may be helpful to others.
Children fail in promptness. If Hubert is called to rise in the morning, and sleepily turns over for another nap, thus causing breakfast to be delayed, and is late at school, mother’s nerves get frazzled, father is cross. What shall be done?
Hubert may be told that if he fails to rise in time, he shall have no breakfast. That will matter little to him if he can slyly fill his pockets with apples and cookies. He thus learns to deceive and to be dishonest.
Suppose mother says: “Hubert, I fear you are not having sleep enough, and father and I think you should have an hour more. We have therefore decided that your bedtime shall be half past seven instead of half past eight.”
“But mother, that is Melvin’s bedtime. It don’t think I ought to sleep as long as he; do you?”
“I didn’t think so, until I found you need more; so to-night you may go to bed at half past seven.”
But Hubert, though ready for breakfast the next morning, has a happy thought while in school. He will invite Walter to visit him that evening; then he need not go to bed early.
Walter comes. But at seven-twenty, mother tells the visitor that Hubert must have plenty of sleep, so his bedtime is seven-thirty; therefore Walter will excuse Hubert, and come again when he can stay longer. The guest departs, and Hubert goes to bed.
After several days of promptness, Hubert asks that the old-time hour for retiring be resumed, and is told that if he can be at breakfast each morning on time, certainly that will show he needs less sleep. This method works better than severe punishment.
Melvin is a different problem. He rises when called, but becomes absorbed in other things; so it may be nine o’clock before he comes downstairs. Mother has threatened and scolded in vain. Now she tries another plan.
She decides that the child may play if he chooses; but if he is late, there will be no breakfast in sight. All requests for food are denied; and when the dinner hour arrives, Melvin has learned his lesson. He is in time for breakfast next morning. He has learned that if he is to have food, he must eat with the family at the proper time.
One mother found that her little daughter was lazy. Elizabeth was very young, but her task was to set the table for meals. One morning mother found her playing and the table untouched.
“Where’s my little maid?” she asked. “It’s nearly breakfast time.”
“She’s quit,” Elizabeth replied.
“What do you mean, Elizabeth?”
“I’m through being maid to you, mamma.”
“Haven’t we heard papa say, ‘If any would not work, neither should he eat’? I must find another job for you,” mother said quietly, and set the table herself.
“You needn’t – I’m a bird. I’m not going to work.”
“Ah, but the birds work, building their nests, and –“
“That’s exactly what I’m doing. Do birds cackle when they lay?”
At breakfast time, when Elizabeth would have climbed to her seat, mother explained that if she was a bird, she must be caged; so she ate her breakfast in a corner of the room, penned in by chairs. She was kept in that cage for an hour or more, with only her “nest building,” until it became very monotonous, and she decided she would much rather be a maid and do her work than stay there any longer….
Two boys concluded to go on a strike. The did not wish to do chores or shovel walks. Father was away. It was a favorable time to strike. They posted this placard on the kitchen door: “A strike is on. No more chores for boys. PHIL and HAROLD.”
When the strikers returned from school at noon, there was nobody at home. No dinner was ready. They ate a cold lunch, and for supper devoured what was left. Their bed was unmade. No dishes were washed. There was no fire in the kitchen. For three quarters of an hour they toiled the next morning to get breakfast, and when it was ready, nothing was to their liking.
“How long do strikes last?” inquired Phil.
“This has lasted long enough for me,” replied Harold.
“Me, too. It hasn’t worked well at all.”
They shoveled paths, split kindling, and prepared another placard: “Strike’s off. PHIL and HAROLD.”
At noon an appetizing meal was in preparation. Mother sat at dinner with them, as pleasant as though nothing had happened. “We didn’t calculate on your striking, too,” said Phil.
“But it was a good time, when there were no boys to do their share in homemaking,” replied mother….
“MAMMA, PLEASE TELL ME A STORY”
What mother has not heard this request many times? The child’s world is one of imagination. If a story is told, every detail is a reality. Lessons may be taught, and wrong habits corrected, by the telling of stories; therefore every one who has children to teach or to control should study the art of story-telling. …
“We think that Miss Roberts is the best of all our teachers,” said one little girl. “When anything goes wrong in her class, she just tells a story; and when she is done every one wants to do just what they should. The other teachers send the boys to the office when they do anything naughty; and when they come back, they’re just as bad as ever. It doesn’t change them a bit.”
Bible stories are best of all. It is said there are fifty-three stories in Genesis, and six chapters of stories in Daniel. The books of Samuel and Kings are a veritable story mine.
It will be well for the mother to give time and thought in choosing the best stories for her children – stories that will influence them for good instead of evil….
BE TRUE TO CHILDREN
Probably one of the most frequent occasions of lying to children is when they must take medicine, visit a dentist, or endure suffering….“If mothers could only be made to realize,” says a trained nurse, in America Motherhood, “what a great help discipline is in time of sickness, I’m sure they would be more careful about letting their children have their own way all the time. In little things it may seem not to matter so much; but in many cases, obedience not infrequently means life, and disobedience death.
“The mother who has lost her child’s confidence by saying of a dose of medicine, ‘It will not taste bad,’ when she knows the contrary is true, will find it hard to regain his confidence; for confidence and obedience are not to be established after illness begins, but must be the result of the child’s whole training. Aside from all the other advantages of good discipline, it is the mother’s greatest asset in fighting the dangers of disease."
Never offer bribes. Teach the child that he must do right because it is right, and tell him the reason.
One woman had trained her boy in this way. At the age of eight, he had serious trouble with one of his ears and was taken to a specialist. After examination, the doctor told the mother what needed to be done. It would be very painful, but would give relief.
When the boy was consulted, he said, “I’ll have it done, mother; but please stay where I can see you.”
The doctor seated mother and son, and went to work. Whenever the boy raised his eyes, he received a smile of encouragement from his mother. While in the chair, he was as motionless as if strapped there. He never uttered a cry. Once the doctor said, “I hurt you pretty badly then, didn’t I?”
“A little,” came the answer, in a voice as steady as if he had said a cheery “Good morning.”
After all was over, the doctor said to the boy, “Son, I’m proud of you”; and to the mother, “Madam, I wish all children could come under your training.”
If mothers will teach their children to bear pain bravely, it will mean much to them all through life.
TEMPER AND TANTRUMS
Much care and patience are needed in dealing with a nervous, quick-tempered child. Ill nature is often the result of bodily conditions. Neglected adenoids, teeth, eyes, tonsils, and digestive disturbances account for much that is called “temper.”
One quarrelsome little fellow who often became very angry was found not to be “naturally ugly,” as had been supposed. When sent to kindergarten, his breakfast had consisted of hot rolls, coffee, doughnuts, and cookies. His “sour stomach” created sourness of disposition. A proper diet worked wonders. He was induced to buy an orange or and apple for lunch instead of a “lollipop” or “candy buttons.”
A mother had a daughter whom her schoolmates called “Spitfire Lizzie.” She would pinch and slap her younger sister, then stolidly hold out her hand for a whipping, with only an impertinent grimace after the punishment.
The mother was in despair. Finally Lizzie was isolated to “Lonesome Corner,” where she could see the children play, but could have no part in their pleasure unless she would refrain from pinching and slapping. Lizzie did not relish such discipline, and began to treat others kindly.
An older girl had a violent temper, which punishments of various kinds failed to subdue or control. The loving mother prayed, asked advice, and tried to teach the child that she must not fly into a rage and kick and scream. Finally she called the girl’s attention to the fact that she was very truthful, and that therefore her mother would not be blamed for producing a deceitful woman. She praised her other good qualities, such as neatness and prompt obedience. Lastly she reminded her that in one thing the mother had failed, and that was in teaching her little girl self-control. She warned her that this temper would finally become her master if not controlled.
“And now,” the mother said, “I am going to ask you to help me to get the best of this fault. God wants you and me to see just how good a child we can make of you, just what we can do with that temper of yours. Will you help me to conquer it?”
The girl promised, and kept the promise. There were times when anger got the better of good resolutions, but a loving reminder from mother would abate the storm of passion. She would stop screaming suddenly as the words, “Please help me, darling!” were spoken. The temper was controlled….
Some one may find help in the plan suggested by Hilda Richmond, in the Sunday School Times:-
Aunt Mary was greatly surprised that little Martin should so quickly stop pouting when the kitty upset his block house. Martin said he was not brave, but he did not wish to go into quarantine.
“In what?” asked the lady in surprise over the big word.
“In quarantine. You know when folks are sick, they may give the sickness to somebody else; and so they are shut up all alone till they are well.”
“But you aren’t sick, are you?”
“Mamma says it is worse than being sick to be naughty, and she’s always afraid one of the other children will catch the naughty. I tell you, I don’t like to be shut up all alone. It’s no fun.”
All the children ran to show Aunt Mary the quarantine room, and she smiled as she saw the bare little “hospital” for naughty children. There was a little stool in the room, but not a single plaything or picture or kitty or anything; just the bare walls, the little window, and the little stool.
“Does it take very long to get well in here?” inquired Aunt Mary.
“Not very long!” said all the children at once. “We don’t have to take any medicine, and we all get well in a hurry.”
“And nobody ever catches the naughty,” said little Janie. “Mamma hurries us in here as fast as anything, and lots of times nobody knows we have been naughty until we get out. I haven’t been in here for two weeks.”
“I’m going to tell the mothers of some little children I know, about this little hospital,” said Aunt Mary. “I think it is a lovely idea to keep naughtiness from spreading, for there is too much of it in the world now. I’m going to have a little quarantine for my very own self, so if I ever get naughty, I can get away from everybody.”