Rules for training children

(Susanna Wesley)

Susanna Wesley was the mother of John and Charles Wesley — and 17 other children. Here are some simple rules which she used in training her children for God:

1. Eating between meals is not allowed.

2. Children are to be in bed by 8 p.m.

3. Children are required to take medicine without complaining.

4. Teach children to fear the 'rod of correction'.

5. Teach children to pray as soon as they can speak.

6. Require all children to be still during family worship.

7. Give children nothing that they cry for. Only grant their wishes when asked for politely.

8. Parents should not punish any fault which is first confessed and repented of. This will prevent lying in children.

9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.

10. Commend and reward good behavior. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.

11. Strictly keep all promises to children.

12. Parents are to subdue self-will in every child. When the will of a child is totally subdued, and it is brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents — then a great many childish follies may be passed by. I insist on the conquering of the will of children early, because this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education. When this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by reason and piety.

"The silent influence of parental conduct is far greater, either for good or for evil, than most parents are aware of. You teach by what you say, you influence by what you do; and also by what you do not say, and do not perform." J.A. James

"O parents, parents! Take care what you are teaching your children by your example. You are always influencing them for good — or evil. You are leading them to Heaven — or to Hell. Not a day passes, but you produce impressions, perhaps permanent impressions — either good or bad!" James Smith