Thursday, February 03, 2011

Helping Kids to Good Habits

I am pinning this quote to my blog so I can find it later. From _Parents and Children_ by Charlotte Mason:

Some Practical Counsels––

Let me offer a few definite practical counsels to a parent who wishes to deal seriously with a bad habit.

First––Let us remember that this bad habit has made its record in the brain.

Second––There is only one way of obliterating such record; the absolute cessation of the habit for a considerable space of time, say some six or eight weeks.

Third––During this interval new growth, new cell connections, are somehow or other taking place, and the physical seat of the evil is undergoing a natural healing.

Fourth––But the only way to secure this pause is to introduce some new habit as attractive to the child as is the wrong habit you set yourself to cure.

Fifth––As the bad habit usually arises from the defect of some quality in the child it should not be difficult for the parent who knows his child's character to introduce the contrary good habit.

Sixth––Take a moment of happy confidence between parent and child; introduce, by tale or example, the stimulating idea; get the child's will with you.

Seventh––Do not tell him to do the new thing, but quietly and cheerfully see that he does it on all possible occasions, for weeks if need be, all the time stimulating the new idea, until it takes great hold of the child's imagination.

Eighth––Watch most carefully against any recurrence of the bad habit.

Ninth––Should the old fault recur, do not condone it. Let the punishment, chiefly the sense of your estrangenient, be acutely felt. Let the child feel the shame not only of having done wrong, but of having done wrong when it was perfectly easy to avoid the wrong and do the right. Above all, 'watch unto prayer' and teach your child dependence upon divine aid in this warfare of the spirit; but, also, the absolute necessity for his own efforts.

CM Volume 2, _Parents and Children_, pages 175-176

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