This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
IN TEMPERAMENT, physical characteristics, mental development and moral inclination, the child is what it has been made by its inheritance and the training it has received since infancy. Born of parents happy in disposition, harmonious in conjugal relation, and pleasant in circumstances, the child will as certainly be as sweet in temper as that sweet fluid which flows from a maple tree. More especially will this be true if the child was welcome, and the days of the mother prior to its birth were full of sunshine and gladness.
If, on the contrary, a badly-developed and unhappy parentage has marked the child, then a correspondingly unfortunate organization of mind and unhappy disposition will present itself for discipline and training.
Fortunate is it for the parent who can understand the cause of the child's predilections thus in the beginning. As with the teacher, when the causes that affect the child's mind are understood, the correct system of government to be pursued is then more easily comprehended. The result of this early appreciation of the case is to teach the parent and teacher that, whatever may be the manifestation of mind with the child, it should never be blamed. This is a fundamental principle necessary to be understood by any person who would be successful in government.
When thoroughly imbued with that understanding, kindness and love will take the place of anger and hatred, and discipline can be commenced aright.
One of the first things that the child should understand is that it must implicitly obey. The parent should, therefore, be very careful to give only such commands as ought to be followed, and then carefully observe that the order is strictly but kindly enforced.
To always secure obedience without trouble, it is of the utmost importance that the parent be firm. For the parent to refuse a request of a child without due consideration, and soon afterward, through the child's importunities, grant the request, is to very soon lose command. The parent should carefully consider the request, and if it be denied the child should feel that the denial is the result of the best judgment, and is not dictated by momentary impatience or petulance. A child soon learns to discriminate between the various moods of the fickle parent, and very soon loses respect for government that is not discreet, careful and just.
If a command is disobeyed, parents should never threaten what they will do if the order is disobeyed again, but at once withhold, quietly, yet firmly and pleasantly, some pleasure from the child in consequence of the disobedience. The punishment should be very seldom, if ever, the infliction of bodily pain. A slight deprivation of some pleasure - it may be very slight, but sufficient to teach the child that it must obey - will be of great service to its future discipline and government by the parent. Commencing thus when the child is very young, treating it always tenderly and kindly, with mild and loving words, it will grow to womanhood or manhood an honor to the parents.