Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young by Jacob A
Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young by Jacob Abbott 1803-1879
CHAPTER I. THREE MODES OF MANAGEMENT
CHAPTER II. WHAT ARE GENTLE MEASURES?
CHAPTER III. THERE MUST BE AUTHORITY
CHAPTER IV. GENTLE PUNISHMENT OF DISOBEDIENCE
CHAPTER V. THE PHILOSOPHY OF PUNISHMENT
CHAPTER VI. REWARDING OBEDIENCE
CHAPTER VII. THE ART OF TRAINING
CHAPTER VIII. METHODS EXEMPLIFIED
CHAPTER IX. DELLA AND THE DOLLS
CHAPTER X. SYMPATHY:- -I. THE CHILD WITH THE PARENT
CHAPTER XI. SYMPATHY:- -II. THE PARENT WITH THE CHILD
CHAPTER XII. COMMENDATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT
CHAPTER XIII. FAULTS OF IMMATURITY
CHAPTER XIV. THE ACTIVITY OF CHILDREN
CHAPTER XV. THE IMAGINATION IN CHILDREN
CHAPTER XVI. TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD
CHAPTER XVII. JUDGMENT AND REASONING
CHAPTER XVIII. WISHES AND REQUESTS
CHAPTER XIX. CHILDREN'S QUESTIONS
CHAPTER XX. THE USE OF MONEY
CHAPTER XXI. CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
CHAPTER XXII. GRATITUDE IN CHILDREN
CHAPTER XXIII. RELIGIOUS TRAINING
CHAPTER XXIV. CONCLUSION
THE THREE MODES OF MANAGEMENT.
It is not impossible that in the minds of some persons the idea of
employing gentle measures in the management and training of children may
seem to imply the abandonment of the principle of _authority_, as the
basis of the parental government, and the substitution of some weak and
inefficient system of artifice and manoeuvring in its place. To suppose
that the object of this work is to aid in effecting such a substitution as
that, is entirely to mistake its nature and design. The only government
of the parent over the child that is worthy of the name is one of
authority- -complete, absolute, unquestioned _authority_. The object of this
work is, accordingly, not to show how the gentle methods which will be
brought to view can be employed as a substitute for such authority, but how
they can be made to aid in establishing and maintaining it.
There are three different modes of management customarily employed
by parents as means of inducing their children to comply with their
requirements. They are,
1. Government by Manoeuvring and Artifice.
2. By Reason and Affection.
3. By Authority.
_Manoeuvring and Artifice_.
1. Many mothers manage their children by means of tricks and contrivances,
more or less adroit, designed to avoid direct issues with them, and to
beguile them, as it were, into compliance with their wishes. As, for
example, where a mother, recovering from sickness, is going out to take
the air with her husband for the first time, and- -as she is still
feeble- -wishes for a very quiet drive, and so concludes not to take little
Mary with her, as she usually does on such occasions; but knowing that if
Mary sees the chaise at the door, and discovers that her father and mother
are going in it, she will be very eager to go too, she adopts a system of
manoeuvres to conceal her design. She brings down her bonnet and shawl by
stealth, and before the chaise comes to the door she sends Mary out into
the garden with her sister, under pretense of showing her a bird's nest
which is not there, trusting to her sister's skill in diverting the child's
mind, and amusing her with something else in the garden, until the chaise
has gone. And if, either from hearing the sound of the wheels, or from
any other cause, Mary's suspicions are awakened- -and children habitually
managed on these principles soon learn to be extremely distrustful and
suspicious- -and she insists on going into the house, and thus discovers the
stratagem, then, perhaps, her mother tells her that they are only going to
the doctor's, and that if Mary goes with them, the doctor will give her
some dreadful medicine, and compel her to take it, thinking thus to deter
her from insisting on going with them to ride.
As the chaise drives away, Mary stands bewildered and perplexed on the
door-step, her mind in a tumult of excitement, in which hatred of the
doctor, distrust and suspicion of her mother, disappointment, vexation, and
ill humor, surge and swell among those delicate organizations on which the
structure and development of the soul so closely depend- -doing perhaps an
irreparable injury. The mother, as soon as the chaise is so far turned that
Mary can no longer watch the expression of her countenance, goes away from
the door with a smile of complacency and satisfaction upon her face at the
ingenuity and success of her little artifice.
In respect to her statement that she was going to the doctor's, it may,
or may not, have been true. Most likely not; for mothers who manage their
children on this system find the line of demarkation between deceit and
falsehood so vague and ill defined that they soon fall into the habit of
disregarding it altogether, and of saying, without hesitation, any thing
which will serve the purpose in view.
_Governing by Reason and Affection_.
2. The theory of many mothers is that they must govern their children by
the influence of reason and affection. Their method may be exemplified by
supposing that, under circumstances similar to those described under the
preceding head, the mother calls Mary to her side, and, smoothing her hair
caressingly with her hand while she speaks, says to her,
"Mary, your father and I are going out to ride this afternoon, and I am
going to explain it all to you why you can not go too. You see, I have been
sick, and am getting well, and I am going out to ride, so that I may get
well faster. You love mamma, I am sure, and wish to have her get well soon.
So you will be a good girl, I know, and not make any trouble, but will stay
at home contentedly- -won't you? Then I shall love you, and your papa will
love you, and after I get well we will take you to ride with us some day."
The mother, in managing the case in this way, relies partly on convincing
the reason of the child, and partly on an appeal to her affection.
_Governing by Authority_.
3. By the third method the mother secures the compliance of the child by
a direct exercise of authority. She says to her- -the circumstances of the
case being still supposed to be the same- -
"Mary, your father and I are going out to ride this afternoon, and I am
sorry, for your sake, that we can not take you with us."
"Why can't you take me?" asks Mary.
"I can not tell you why, now," replies the mother, "but perhaps I will
explain it to you after I come home. I think there _is_ a good reason, and,
at any rate, I have decided that you are not to go. If you are a good girl,
and do not make any difficulty, you can have your little chair out upon
the front door-step, and can see the chaise come to the door, and see your
father and me get in and drive away; and you can wave your handkerchief to
us for a good-bye."
Then, if she observes any expression of discontent or insubmission in
Mary's countenance, the mother would add,
"If you should _not_ be a good girl, but should show signs of making us any
trouble, I shall have to send you out somewhere to the back part of the
house until we are gone."
But this last supposition is almost always unnecessary; for if Mary has
been habitually managed on this principle she will _not_ make any
trouble. She will perceive at once that the question is settled- -settled
irrevocably- -and especially that it is entirely beyond the power of any
demonstrations of insubmission or rebellion that she can make to change it.
She will acquiesce at once.[A] She may be sorry that she can not go, but
she will make no resistance. Those children only attempt to carry their
points by noisy and violent demonstrations who find, by experience, that
such measures are usually successful. A child, even, who has become once
accustomed to them, will soon drop them if she finds, owing to a change
in the system of management, that they now never succeed. And a child who
never, from the beginning, finds any efficiency in them, never