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Train Up a Child: What can we reasonably expect from children?

It seems that there is a certain belief permeating society that we should not do anything to children to make them feel bad. Many have come to believe that so simple a thing as making a child sit still is not good for the child. Has anyone ever really known of a child being hurt in any way by sitting still? Perhaps all of this fear of harming a child came about when so-called “experts” told us we were not to spank children. No matter where it began, it seems to have caused us to raise a generation or two of children who are generally undisciplined and not really happy. 


         There are certain basic things we can and should expect of children. If we all could agree on these things, there would be more consistency in how those many adults touching a child’s life would deal with children.


       I believe that basic expectations as relating to a child’s behavior are as follows:

·       Children should act in no way that would affect others around them negatively. An individual’s freedom ends when it begins to take away the freedom of another.

·       Children should be quiet when someone else is speaking and wait until that person is finished before talking.

·       Children should listen to adults and not interrupt when they are talking.

·       Children should learn that certain places are all right for running and certain places are not appropriate for running.

·       Children should learn to speak softly and not yell at others unless they are playing outside games or if it is appropriate in a certain situation.

·       Children should not touch the belongings of others unless invited to do so.

·       Children should not ask for things that others have. They need to learn to wait to be invited to have something.

·       Children should always knock before entering another person’s house or room.

·       Children should never open a refrigerator, drawers, or doors to rooms in another person’s home.

·       Children should remember to say “excuse me,” “I’m sorry,” “thank you,” and “please” at appropriate times.

·       Children should not touch things in stores when shopping without first checking with parents.

·       Children should learn to let others go first. 

·       Children should stand and let elderly people have their seats when there are no other seats available. 

·       Children should never talk back in a negative way to adults.  It is all right for them to disagree in a nice way, however.


How different all this sounds from what we are now seeing on TV as our college students act as they do!  Do those students look happy? Of course not! Bad behavior never produces happiness! We have a right to expect acceptable behavior from college-age “children.” 


These are a few things that we should expect children to do. Space does not permit listing everything. This is a good start. If we follow these suggestions, the boys and girls will not get out of hand. We need to get over the idea that children today are different. Children are basically the same as they always were. It is the parents and teachers who are different in their expectations and teaching of the children. Children who “know the rules” and obey them are more secure and happier children than those who go untaught and undisciplined. Needless to say, adults are happier as well. It is much more pleasant to be around children (or adults) who can act nicely.

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