Give Loving Attention
It takes but little to wound the tender feelings of a child. It is not the angry look and cross word only that wounds the child’s heart, but oftentimes it is neglect. What may seem to us as a very little thing, or small achievement, may be a very great thing to the child, and taking notice with an encouraging word has a good and lasting effect. Your little boy has done a piece of work, and done it poorly enough to be sure—but to him it is done in the most artistic style. Do not depress his spirit by offering your criticisms or showing your disapproval, but encourage him by taking note of any points that show his progress, then kindly help him to see how he can do it even better.
You should not become so absorbed in your work that you cannot stop to notice the newly drawn picture. If your child’s interruptions are too frequent, in kindness teach him that papa is not to be interrupted now. By all means show a deep interest in your children. We have seen parents who scarcely ever spoke to their children except when reproving. Help them to see that you delight to make things pleasant for them. Do not make them feel that they are servants. Have pleasant conversations with them. Read some good story to them, or better still, tell them one—not a fairy tale, but something real. Take them with you to the meeting. Take them with you 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 he will feel he is your slave.
Do not make a habit of denying every request of your child. Allow them some privileges, let them enjoy some wholesome play. Do not be so careful about your home that the little ones cannot have a little play indoors. Certainly they should be taught to be clean, to keep from walking inside with dirty shoes, and to avoid turning the room into a shambles, yet they should not be expected to remain perfectly still.
When your child makes a request that your wisdom decides best not to grant, do not answer an unfeeling and decided “no,” but tell them kindly that you think it not best to do so. If you are firm, and do not tolerate arguing, he will soon learn that your mild “I do not think it best to give you that” means just as much as a sharp “no,” but he will be spared the sting of an ungracious reply.