Over-raising is accompanied by “nagging” – and of all parental faults this is about the worst. Children must be trusted and they must know that they are being trusted. Do not magnify small deviations from discipline, but when it is necessary to administer correction it should be done quietly, gently and privately. No good comes of ostentatious correction. It is apt to defeat the purpose of correction and do great harm in the bargain. Injudicious methods of pointing out errors or faults speedily turn some children to “sissies.” If correcting a child impairs his self-respect, encourages him in falsehood, or cowardice, makes him a “sissy,” or arouses his antagonism and ill-will, it is of more harm than good. It is easy to spoil a colt by faulty methods of breaking and training. How much easier to injure a child by ill-advised discipline.
Errors of training frequently result in one very great evil by brining upon children the contempt or ridicule of those with whom they should or must associate in after life. Again, faulty rearing not seldom gives children an entirely artificial and unnatural hatred of work, whereas they would have chosen otherwise, of their own natural inclination, some useful activity. False standards of life readily proceed from faulty training at home and lead to great harm and folly, false pride, silly notions of superiority, cliques, idleness, and a wrong sense of values account for the failure in life of many a young man of excellent breeding and extensive college training and the thing to keep always in mind is that human beings are born to associate with human beings. All relations of life are facilitated by the exercise of charity, politeness, kindness and justice toward others. Viewed from this angle it is not difficult to agree with the maxim, “Politeness is the foundation of good morals and good sense.” Experience is neatly embodied in the adage, “Three generations from shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves,” and it behooves everyone to give preferences in life to Intelligence, Refinement and Simplicity instead of setting ridiculous store by Exclusiveness, Clannishness and Condescension. Ill-bred people, rather than those of noble strain, are mostly concerned with knowing that their acquaintances belong to the “Exclusive Set.”
Snobbishness does great harm to children in more ways than warping the character and souring the heart. Mme. Pompadour in a celebrated letter to her brother enjoined on him the habit of scrupulous politeness and consideration toward others, saying that these qualities had enabled her to maintain her ascendancy for twenty years at the most difficult court in Europe. Since we are born to live among men and women it is the first dictate of common-sense to adjust ourselves to the conditions which make such life possible. And there is nothing more necessary than that blend of fairness, unselfishness, and sympathy which makes politeness.