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How to correct a young child without harming his confidence
Endearing and winsome as they may be, kids screw up an awful lot. It is a common mistake for parents to attribute this to inexperience and curiosity. In fact, most kids are merely taking advantage of the fact that 87% of the laws are tilted in their favor, transferring legal culpability on you, the parent, for their misdeeds. Don't feel sorry for your child's "innocent" mistakes... he's slicker than Slick Willie!
When your child screws up, first make sure he understands how much he has embarrassed you. Help him put things in perspective by reminding him what a good child you were yourself at his age in spite of the hardships you endured--when television was only in two dimensions, McDonaldses had no WiFi, and Pringle's came in only one flavor.
To ensure your point sinks in, shake your child until his cheeks are a healthy rosy red. This helps the message mix in thoroughly with his brain cells. Yelling and screaming your points will not only help your child remain focused on your words (remember, short attention span), but also help him understand how gravely he has hurt you through his own selfish thoughtlessness. Soon he will begin to understand that he is entirely to blame for the anger that his behavior has engendered.
If all else fails, if your child fucks up you beat his or her head with a baseball bat! Thats about all you need to do to be a great parent.
To help your daughter when she "falls in love"
If your daughter falls in love, cut her ears off and beat her until she is bleeding!
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Grace has recently been reading private notes from school. One day she brings one of the notes to you, saying carelessly, "Don't you think this is beautiful, mother? Algie Simpson wrote it! And, mother (blushing), he says my hair is like soaked seaweeds!"
Do not laugh. Keep a calm face, and say, "Well, dear, it's very nice of Algie Simpson to think nice things about you. Let's see. Does he play football?"
Oh, no, mother. He's delicate. He's a poet. He says he loves tennis, and I'll bet he's a swell player.
There's your chance. The "poet" is probably quite bad at tennis.
"Why don't you invite him here next Saturday for a game. We haven't many literary people in Blankville, have we?"
"Oh, mother! You're the loveliest thing that ever happened!" Your daughter skips off happily as you make a hasty exit to laugh quietly and write an invitation to the "literary man".
He shows up early on Saturday, a miserable specimen in tortoise-shell glasses. He misses practically every ball. Later, you sit back and note the effect of your strategy as your daughter returns to normal, turns up her nose at the poet, and retreats to her room to sulk. You have helped her immeasurably.
To discourage a child of ten from stealing preserves
This is quite a tricky subject. It is usually best not to just come right out with "Alonzo! You have been stealing preserves!," but to instead lock him in a closet for a week, feeding him nothing but preserves. By the second day he will have violent diarrhea, which will be made even more unpleasant by his being locked in a closet. By the fifth day his liver should begin to be inflamed, causing intense discomfort, and often further diarrhea. By day seven, he will have come to hate the taste of preserves, thus achieving your original goal. Do not, under any circumstances, tell him why you are keeping him in the closet. If he doesn't figure it out, tough. Increase the sentence by one week for each offense.
Finding suitable companions for your children is a difficult matter, as your children may have tastes wholly different from your own. However, you must always remember that you are always in the right, and your child, should he disagree with you, is always in the wrong. And with friends, always remember the old adage,"Familiarity breeds contempt."
To teach a child not to play with bad little boys
Everyone knows that children can easily be bought out. However, this may be more difficult when attempting to make him deprive himself of his friends. A good way around this is to give his friends each a nickel to beat him up. He'll never talk to them again.
To discourage practical jokes
Robert was a mischievous, careless, happy, fun-loving boy, and quite fond of playing practical jokes. He had almost frightened his timid little sister into convulsions, and the other female members of the family, excepting his mother, suffered more or less from his pranks. His mother was much troubled as to what she could do to teach the boy a serious lesson, especially as he seemed to forget her admonitions as soon as he was out of sight.
One evening she was standing upon the porch looking out into the darkness of a moonless night, when she was startled by having a cold, wet cloth placed across her mouth; her waist was clasped by a boyish arm, which tried to be very strong and a gruff voice, with a suspicion of a squeak, whispered in her ear, "Don't speak, or I'll kill you! Where is your money?"
Realizing at once she had been mistaken for her sister, Robert's aunt, she quickly thought that this was the opportunity to teach him a lesson. So, uttering a piercing shriek, she went limp and fell to the floor.
The noise brought the other family members carrying a flashlight, and Robert discovered that this time he had frightened his beloved mother. He was horrified when he saw her with closed eyes lying so still, and began to think that she was injured.
"Mother! Mother!" he called. "Mother, why, mother, it was only me. Why, I didn't hurt you, did I, mother? Mother, are you dead?" A moment's silence, and then, beside himself with terror, he fairly shrieked, "MOTHER! MOTHER, ARE YOU DEAD?!"
Slowly his mother moved her hand, slowly she opened her eyes, and slowly raised her head, as her sobbing son helped her to her feet.
"I'll be good, mother!" He cried. "I'll never frighten anyone again. Oh, mother, I'm so glad you're not dead!"
You see how this would work. The guilt would be so intense as to be permanent, thus ending Robert's jokes.
Note: this article is based on an actual child-rearing book from 1917 called "Practical Child Training".