Nearly every honest citizen in the United States is alarmed and almost horrified at the yearly statistics of divorces, homicides, and suicides in our land. But there is a cause that lies deeply hidden beneath all of this alarming effect. This cause can be traced back to the home circle, which nowadays has become the nursery of the jails, hospitals, asylums, brothels, gallows, and hell. All this is brought about owing to the ill-training the children receive in the home.
My purpose in this chapter is to point out some of the many ways in which children are spoiled.
One of the first ways of spoiling a child is for one parent to take sides and defend it when it is being reproved by the other. This will make an anarchist and jail-bird of any child in the world.
A second way of spoiling a child is to give it what it cries for. If you do this you will always have to pay it to stop crying. I have seen children, who were spoiled on this line, putting up a pretense of crying, so as to obtain the thing they wanted; but when I observed them closely I found they were not shedding a tear, but simply squeeling and putting on.
A third way to spoil a child is to indulge it in laziness, by doing all of the housework yourself. If you do not train children to work while young, you cannot force them to work when they grow older. Therefore the results will be, they will become tramps and highwaymen.
The fourth way of spoiling a child is to neglect using the rod. Of course this is to be done to a limited degree. The modern way of punishing children, by making them go to bed without their supper, making them stand behind the door, or telling them the "boogy man" will catch them, is proving a failure, and is filling the jails and penitentiaries at an alarming rate. The Bible dictates the best prescription yet for rearing children-"Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beat him with the rod he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell" (Prov. 23: 13, 14).
A fifth way of spoiling a child is to allow it to stay all night away from home, unaccompanied by some older person. Children will learn more vice in one evening than you can drill out of them in fifty years.
A sixth way of spoiling a child is to dress it in a way that would be unbecoming to one professing holiness.
A seventh way of spoiling a child is to not keep your promises with it. If you make a promise, be sure and keep it, or else you will teach your children to become liars like yourself.