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sults which would naturally flow from the you had your toys you left them lying on conduct, in the absence of parental the floor, and Jane had to pick them up. opinion or interference. The truly instruct- Jane is too busy to pick up every day the ive and salutary consequences are not those things you leave about; and I can not do inflicted by parents when they take upon it myself. So that, as you will not put themselves to be Nature's proxies; but away your toys when you have done with they are those inflicted by Nature her- them, I can not let you have them.” This self. We will endeavor to make this dis- is obviously a natural consequence, neitinction clear by a few illustrations, which, ther increased nor lessened; and must be while they show what we mean by natural so recognized by a child. The penalty reäctions as contrasted with artificial ones, comes, too, at the moment when it is most will afford some directly practical sugges- keenly felt. A new-born desire is balked tions.
at the moment of anticipated gratificaIn every family where there are young tion; and the strong impression so prochildren there almost daily occur cases of duced can scarcely fail to have an effect what mothers and servants call “ making on the future conduct: an effect which, a litter.” A child has had out its box of by consistent repetition, will do whatever toys, and leaves them scattered about the can be done in curing the fault. Add to floor. Or a handful of flowers, brought which, that by this method, a child is in from a morning walk, is presently seen early taught the lesson which can not be dispersed over tables and chairs. Or a learnt too soon, that in this world of ours little girl making doll's clothes, disfigures pleasures are rightly to be obtained only the room with shreds. In most cases the by labor. trouble of rectifying this disorder falls Take another case. Not long since we anywhere but in the right place: if in had frequently to listen to the reprimands the nursery, the nurse herself, with many visited on a little girl who was scarcely grumblings about“ tiresome little things,” ever ready in time for the daily walk. Of etc.
, undertakes the task; if below stairs, eager disposition, and apt to become the task usually devolves either on one of thoroughly absorbed in the occupation of the elder children or on the housemaid ; the moment, Constance never thought of the transgressor being visited with no- putting on her things until the rest were thing more than a scolding. In this very ready. The governess and the other simple case, however, there are many pa- children had almost invariably to wait ; rents wise enough to follow out, more or and from the mamma there almost invariless consistently, the normal course--that ably came the same scolding. Utterly as of making the child itself collect the toys this system failed, it never occurred to the or shreds. The labor of putting things mamma to let Constance experience the in order is the true consequence of having natural penalty. Nor, indeed, would she put them in disorder. Every trader in try it when it was suggested to her. In his office, every wife in her household, the world the penalty of being behind has daily experience of this fact. And if time is the loss of some advantage that education bea preparation for the business would else have been gained: the train is of life, then every child should also, from gone; or the steam-boat is just leaving the beginning, have daily experience of its moorings; or the best things in the this fact. If the natural penalty be met market are sold; or all the good seats in by any refractory behavior, (which it may the concert-room are filled. And every perhaps be where the general system of one, in cases perpetually occurring, may moral discipline previously pursued has see that it is the prospective deprivations been bad,) then the proper course is to entailed by being too late which prevent let the child feel the ulterior reäction people from being too late. Is not the consequent on its disobedience. Having inference obvious ? Should not these refused or neglected to pick up and put prospective deprivations control the away the things it has scattered about, child's conduct also ? If Constance is not and having thereby entailed the trouble ready at the appointed time, the natural of doing this on some one else, the child result is that of being left behind, and losshould, on subsequent occasions, be denied ing her walk. And no one can, we think, the means of giving this trouble. When doubt that after having once or twice renext it petitions for its toy-box, the reply mained at home while the rest were enof its mamma should be: “ The last time joying themselves in the fields, and after having felt that this loss of a much-prized Proper conduct in life is much better gratification was solely due to want of guaranteed when the good and evil conpromptitude, some amendment would take sequences of actions are rationally underplace. At any rate, the measure would stood, than when they are merely believed be more effective than that perpetual on authority. A child who finds that disscolding which ends only in producing orderliness entails the subsequent trouble callousness.
of putting things in order, or who misses Again, when children, with more than a gratification from dilatoriness, or whose usual carelessness, break or lose the want of care is followed by the loss or things given to them, the natural penalty-breakage of some much-prized possession, the penalty which makes grown-up persons not only experiences a keenly-felt consemore careful—is the consequent inconve- quence, but gains a knowledge of causanience. The want of the lost or damaged tion: both the one and the other being article, and the cost of supplying its just like those which adult life will bring. place, are the experiences by which men Whereas a child who in such cases reand women are disciplined in these mat- ceives some reprimand or some factitious ters; and the experience of children should penalty, not only experiences a consebe as much as possible assimilated to quence for which it often cares very little, theirs. We do not refer to that early pe. but lacks that instruction respecting the riod at which toys are pulled to pieces in essential natures of good and evil conduct, the process of learning their physical pro. which it would else have gathered. It is perties, and at which the results of care. a vice of the common system of artificial lessness can not be understood; but to a rewards and punishments
, long since nolater period, when the meaning and ad- ticed by the clear-sighted, that by substivantages of property are perceived. When tuting for the natural results of misbehava boy, old enough to possess a penknife, ior certain threatened tasks or castigations, uses it so roughly as to snap the blade, or it produces a radically wrong standard of leaves it in the grass by some hedge-side, moral guidance. Having throughout inwhere he was cutting a stick, a thought- fancy and boyhood always regarded paless parent, or some indulgent relative, rental or tutorial displeasure as the result will commonly forth with buy him another; of a forbidden action, the youth has gained not seeing that, by doing this, a valuable an established association of ideas between lesson is lost. In such a case, a father such action and such displeasure, as cause may properly explain that penknives cost and effect; and consequently when pamoney, and that to get money requires rents and tutors have abdicated, and their labor; that he can not afford to purchase displeasure is not to be feared, the renew penknives for one who loses or aint on a fobidden action is in great breaks them; and that until he sees evi- measure removed: the true restraints, the dence of greater carefulness he must de natural reactions, having yet to be learnt cline to make good the loss. A parallel by sad experience. As writes one who discipline may be used as a means of has had personal knowledge of this shortchecking extravagance.
sighted system: “Young men let loose These few familiar instances, here cho- from school, particularly those whose pasen because of the simplicity with which rents have neglected to exert their influthey illustrate our point, will make clear ence, plunge into every description of exto every one the distinction between those travagance; they know no rule of action natural penalties wbich we contend are - they are ignorant of the reasons for the truly efficient ones, and those artificial moral conduct--they have no foundation penalties which parents commonly substi- to rest upon — and until they have been tute for them. Before going on to exhibit severely disciplined by the world, are exthe higher and subtler applications of this tremely dangerous members of society.” principle, let us note its many and great Another great advantage of this natusuperiorities over the principle, or rather ral system of discipline is, that it is a systhe empirical practice, which prevails in tem of pure justice; and will be recognized most families.
by every child as such. Whoso suffers In the first place, right conceptions of nothing more than the evil which obviouscause and effect are early formed; and by ly follows naturally from his own misbefrequent and consistent experience are havior, is much less likely to think himself eventually rendered definite and complete. wrongly treated than if he suffers an evil
artificially inflicted on bim; and this will the necessary reaction of things brings be true of children as of men. Take the round upon them — penalties which are case of a boy who is habitually reckless of inflicted by impersonal agency, produce his clothes — scrambles through hedges an irritation that is comparatively slight without caution, or is utterly regardless of and transient; whereas, penalties which mud. If he is beaten, or sent to bed, he are voluntarily inflicted by a parent, and is apt to regard himself as ill-used; and are afterwards remembered as caused by his mind is more likely to be occupied by him or her, produce an irritation both thinking over his injuries than repenting greater and more continued. Just conof his transgressions. But
he is sider how disastrous would be the result required to rectify as far as he can the if this empirical method were pursued harm he has done—to clean off the mud from the beginning. Suppose it were poswith which he has covered himself, or to sible for parents to take upon
themselves mend the tear as well as he can. Will be the physical sufferings entailed on their not feel that the evil is one of his own children by ignorance and awkwardness; producing ? Will he not while paying and that while bearing these evil consethis penalty be continuously conscious of quences they visited on their children the connection between it and its cause ? certain other evil consequences, with the And will he not, spite his irritation, view of teaching them the impropriety of recognize more or less clearly the justice their conduct. Suppose that when a of the arrangement ? If several lessons of child, who had been forbidden to meddle this kind fail to produce amendment - if with the kettle, spilt some boiling water suits of clothes are prematurely spoiled on its foot, the mother vicariously assumed if pursuing this same system of discipline the scald and gave a blow in place of a father declines to spend money for new it; and similarly in all other cases. Would ones until the ordinary time has elapsed not the daily mishaps be sources of far --and if meanwhile, there occur occasions more anger than now? Would there not on which, having no decent clothes to go be chronic ill-temper on both sides? Yet in, the boy is debarred from joining the an exactly parallel policy is pursued in rest of the family on holiday excursions after years. A father who punishes his and fëte days, it is manifest that while he boy for carelessly or willfully breaking a will keenly feel the punishment, he can sister's toy, and then himself pays for a scarcely fail to trace the chain of causation, new toy, does substantially this same thing and to perceive that his own carelessness —inflicts an artificial penalty on the transis the origin of it; and seeing this, he will gressor, and takes the natural penalty on not have that same sense of injustice as himself: his own feelings and those of when there is no obvious connection be the transgressor being alike needlessly irtween the transgression and its penalty. ritated. If he simply required restitution
Again, the tempers both of parents and to be made, he would produce far less children are much less liable to be ruffled heart-burning. If he told the boy that a under this system than under the ordinary new toy must be bought at his, the boy's, system. Instead of letting children expe- cost, and that his supply of pocket-money rience the painful results which naturally must be withheld to the needful extent, follow from wrong conduct, the usual there would be much less cause for ebullicourse pursued by parents is to inflict tion of temper on either side ; while in themselves certain other painful results. the deprivation afterwards felt, the boy A double mischief arises from this. Mak- would experience the equitable and saluing, as they do, multiplied family laws; tary consequence. In brief, the system of and identifying their own supremacy and discipline by natural reactions is less injudignity with the maintenance of these rious to temper, alike because it is perlaws; it happens that every transgression ceived on both sides to be nothing more comes to be regarded as an offense against than pure justice, and because it more or themselves, and a cause of anger on their less substitutes the impersonal agency of part. Add to which the further irritations nature for the personal agency
of parents. which result from taking upon themselves, Whence also follows the manifest corol. in the shape of extra labor or cost, those lary that under this system the parental evil consequences which should have been and filial relation will be a more friendly, allowed to fall on the wrong-doers. Sim- and therefore a more influential one. ilarly with the children. Penalties which Whether in parent or child, anger, however caused, and to whomsoever directed, ceiving those penalties through the workis more or less detrimental. But anger in ing of things, rather than at the hands of a parent towards a child, and in a child an individual, its temper will be less distowards a parent, is especially detrimental; turbed; while the parent, occupying the because it weakens that bond of sympathy comparatively passive position of taking which is essential to a beneficent control. case that the natural penalties are felt, In virtue of the general law of association will preserve a comparative equanimity, of ideas, it inevitably results, both in And Fourth. That mutual exasperation young and old, that dislike is contracted being thus in great measure prevented, a towards things which in our experience much happier, and a more influential state are habitually connected with disagreea of feeling, will exist between parent and ble feelings. Or where attachment origi- child. nally existed, it is weakened, or destroyed, or turned into repugnance, according to “But what is to be done with more the quantity of painful impressions re- serious misconduct?” some will ask. “How ceived. Parental wrath, with its accom- is this plan to be carried out when a petty panying reprimands and castigations, can theft has been committed ? or when a lie not fail, if often repeated, to produce filial has been told ? or when some younger alienation; while the resentment and brother or sister has been ill-used?" sulkiness of children can not fail to weaken Before replying to these questions let the affection felt for them, and may even us consider the bearings of a few illustraend in destroying it. Hence the numerous tive facts. cases in which parents (and especially fa- Living in the family of his brother-inthers, who are commonly deputed to ex- law, a friend of ours had undertaken the press the anger and inflict the punishment) education of his little nephew and niece. are regarded with indifference if not with This he had conducted, more perhaps aversion; and hence the equally numer. from natural sympathy than from reason. ous cases in which children are looked ed-out conclusions, in the spirit of the upon as inflictions. · Seeing, then, as all method above set forth. The two childmust do, that estrangement of this kind is ren were in-doors his pupils and out of fatal to a salutary moral culture, it follows doors his companions. They daily joined that parents can not be too solicitous in him in walks and botanizing excursions, avoiding occasions of direct antagonism eagerly sought out plants for him, looked with their children-occasions of personal on while he examined and identified them, resentment. And therefore they can not and in this and other ways were ever too anxiously avail themselves of this dis- gaining both pleasure and instruction in cipline of natural consequences--this sys- his society. In short, morally considered, tem of letting the penalty be inflicted by he stood to them much more in the posithe laws of things; which, by saving the tion of parent than either their father or parent from the function of a penal agent, mother did. Describing to us the results prevents these mutual exasperations and of this policy, he gave, among other inestrangements.
stances, the following. One evening, havThus we see that this method of moral ing need for some article lying in another culture by experience of the normal reäc- part of the house, he asked his nephew to tions, which is the divinely-ordained me- fetch it for him. Deeply interested as the thod alike for infancy and for adult life, is boy was in some amusement of the moequally applicable during the intermediate ment, he, contrary to his wont, either exchildhood and youth. And among the hibited great reluctance or refused, we advantages of this method we see–First. forget which. His uncle, disapproving of That it gives that rational comprehension a coercive course, fetched it himself; of right and wrong conduct which results merely exhibiting by his manner the anfrom actual experience of the good and noyance this ill-behavior gave him. And bad consequences caused by them. Sec- when, later in the evening, the boy made ond. That the child, suffering nothing overtures for the usual play, they were more than the painful effects brought gravely repelled—the uncle manifested upon it by its own wrong actions, must just that coldness of feeling naturally prorecognize more or less clearly the justice duced in him, and so let the boy experiof the penalties. Third. That, recogniz- ence the necessary consequences of his ing the justice of the penalties, and reconduct. Next morning at the usual
time for rising, our friend heard a new We have introduced these facts before voice outside the door, and in walked his replying to the question—“ What is to be little nephew with the hot water; and done with the graver offenses ?” for the then the boy, peering about the room to purpose of first exhibiting the relation see what else could be done, exclaimed, that may and ought to be established be“Oh! you want your boots,” and forth-tween parents and children ; for on the with rushed down stairs to fetch them. existence of this relation depends the sucIn this and other ways he showed a true cessful treatment of these
offen ses. penitence for his misconduct; he endea- And as a further preliminary, we must vored by unusual services to make up for now point out that the establishment of the service he had refused ; his higher this relation will result from adopting the feelings had of themselves conquered his system we advocate. Already we have lower ones, and acquired strength by the shown that by letting a child experience conquest; and he valued more than be- simply the painful reactions of its own fore the friendship he thus regained. wrong actions, a parent in great measure
This gentleman is now himself a father; avoids assuming the attitude of an enemy, acts on the same system; and finds it an- and escapes being regarded as one; but swer completely. He makes himself tho- it still remains to be shown that where roughly his children's friend. The even- this course has been consistently pursued ing is longed for by them because he will from the beginning, a strong feeling of be at home; and they especially enjoy active friendship will be generated. the Sunday because he is with them all At present, mothers and fathers are day. Thus possessing their perfect con- mostly considered by their offspring as fidence and affection, he finds that the friend-enemies. Determined as their imsimple display of his approbation or dis- pressions inevitably are by the treatment approbation gives him abundant power of they receive; and oscillating as that treatcontrol. If, on his return home, he hears ment does between bribery and thwartthat one of his boys has been naughty, he ing, between petting and scoling, between behaves towards him with that compara- gentleness and castigation ; children netive coldness which the consciousness of cessarily acquire conflicting beliefs rethe boy's misconduct naturally produces ; specting the parental character. A moand he finds this a most efficient punish- ther commonly thinks it quite sufficient ment. The mere withholding of the to tell her little boy that she is his best usual caresses, is a source of the keenest friend ; and assuming that he is in duty distress-produces a much more prolong. bound to believe her, concludes that he ed fit of crying than a beating would do. will forth with do so. “It is all for your And the dread of this purely moral penal- good;" " I know what is proper for you ty is, he says, ever present during his ab- better than you do yourself;" “ You are sence: so much so, that frequently dur- not old enough to understand it now, but ing the day his children inquire of their when you grow up you will thank me for mamma how they have behaved, and doing what I do;" these, and like asser. whether the report will be good. Re- tions, are daily reiterated. Meanwhile cently, the eldest, an active urchin of the boy is daily suffering positive penalfive, in one of those bursts of animal ties; and is hourly forbidden to do this, spirits common in healthy children, com- that, and the other, which he was anxious mitted sundry extravagances during his to do. By words he hears that his hapmamma's absence-cut off part of his piness is the end in view ; but from the brother's hair, and wounded himself with accompanying deeds he habitually rea razor taken from his father's dressing- ceives more or less pain. Utterly incomcase. Hearing of these occurrences on petent as he is to understand that future his return, the father did not speak to which his mother has in view, or how this the boy either that night or next morn- treatment conduces to the happiness of ing. Not only was the tribulation great, that future, he judges by such results as but the subsequent effect was, that when, he feels; and finding these results any a few days after, the mamma was about thing but pleasurable, he becomes skepti. to go out, she was earnestly entreated by cal respecting these professions of friend. the boy not to do so; and on inquiry it ship. And is it not folly to expect any appeared his fear was that he might again other issue? Must not the child judge transgress in her absence.
by such evidence as he has got ? and