The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. – Proverbs 29:15
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
Mrs. Huntington gives the following hints for the government of children:
1.”As to government, I have always made it a rule never to give a child what it is passionately earnest to have, however proper the object may be in itself; because, otherwise, an association would immediately be formed in the mind between importunity and success. Were a child always told, when he cries for a thing, ‘You shall have it when you show a proper temper,’ it would soon teach him to be reasonable. I think it the destruction of government to be capricious; to refuse, one day, what, in circumstances not seen by the child to be different, is granted on another; to let fretting and teasing carry a point at one time, when, at another, they would bring punishment. Children very soon see whether we are consistent; and little deviations from an established rule afford great encouragement for the next time. These little deviations do great mischief, and are often imperceptibly by the parent, though the child is quick-sighted enough to observe them.
2. “One thing, my dear friend, I think of the greatest importance, and that is—that children be made always to mind, and consider the parent’s word as their law. Giving up once, after a command has passed, may lay the foundation, and lead to the establishment, of a principle of insubordination as troublesome as unconquerable.
3.”It is also very necessary to good government that punishment should be proportioned to offences. If we make no distinction between intentional offences, and careless inadvertencies, the child, by the frequent recurrence of these latter faults, and the sharp rebukes they bring upon him—will become so accustomed to severe reproof, that he will not mind it. Tenderness of heart is the most powerful human engine of parental government; and when this is lost, it seems to me all is lost, unless the grace of God interposes. The inevitable consequence of frequent reproof is, a heart blunted in its sensibilities, and unmoved by the parent’s displeasure.
4. Many little things should not be observed, which, if you were conscious the child knew you had observed, ought to be reproved. A harsh and angry tone should never be used, unless a gentle one has previously failed. And I believe, where the authority of the parent is early established by the mild and gentle means to some of which I have alluded, severe measures need be resorted to very seldom.”
Gorham Abbott, The Family At Home