Successful Child Training

By Charles Orr (1844 – 1913) 

    “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.  Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Col. 3:20-21).

    The proper training of children is attended with many difficulties, and every parent certainly needs instruction from God.  Your child is given you from God, and you in return should give him trustingly to God, like a mother of olden time:  “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.  Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:27-28).  This is the consecration of children to God, which is the first duty of parents.

    Great wisdom is required in the government of children.  For parents to ­properly govern their children they need that wisdom and direction which comes from above.  There are so many different natures which must be controlled in as many different ways, making it impossible to fix certain rules for all.  However, all these different dispositions among our children must be met.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…and it will be given to him” (Jas. 1:5).

    If you desire your child to obey you, be kind, loving and firm.  Unhappy and unholy is the home where children obey only through fear.  So deal with your ­little ones that obedience is gained through love.  It is natural for children to love their parents, and if parents deal with their little ones in love and kindness they can make home the most desirable place on earth to them.

    To rule by physical force is not government.  It is a most pitiful sight to see a child fear and tremble before a parent’s stern looks and cross words.  There is a way, though but few have found it, of mingling tenderness with firmness that demands obedience in respect and love.  It brings a joy to the parents’ hearts to behold their child obeying willingly.  By the help of God such obedience can be obtained.  Someone may ask, “Would you never punish a child?”  Yes; it is sometimes necessary – but not so often as many have supposed.  Training, and not arbitrary government is what is the more successful. 

Give Attention to Your Child

    It takes but little to wound the tender feelings of a child.  It is not the angry look and cross word only that send the little one away in tears; but oftentimes it is neglect.  What may seem to us a very little thing, or small achievement, may be a very great thing to the child, and a notice and an encouraging word has a good and lasting effect.

    By all means show a deep interest in your children.  Help them to see that you delight to make things pleasant for them.  Have pleasant conversations with them.  Read some good story to them, or better still, tell them one, but something real.  We have seen parents who scarcely ever spoke to their children only when reproving.  Take them with you if at all convenient when you go on your chari­table errand.  Take them to the woods and the fields, and there tell them of God.

    Many opportunities will be afforded for you to show an interest and an appreciation in your child.  Give him your attention and you will win his love and obedience and make him feel that there is freedom at home.  Neglect him, treat him with indifference – and you will make his little heart cold and make him feel he is your slave. 

Be Patient with Your Child

    For the sake of your child, your own happiness, and the happiness of your home, be patient!  In dealing with your little “olive plants,” “let patience have its perfect work,” and of a truth you shall “be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (Jas. 1:4).  Much of redeeming grace is needed to enable the parent to be calm and kind under the many trying circumstances connected with the pruning and training of the “fruit of the womb.”  It is a source of great joy, however, to know that God’s grace is sufficient for me.

    – Excerpted from