Child Guidance


Chapter 49—Attitude of Relatives

Indulgent Relatives Are a Problem—Be careful how you relinquish the government of your children to others. No one can properly relieve you of your God-given responsibility. Many children have been utterly ruined by the interference of relatives or friends in their home government. Mothers should never allow their sisters or mothers to interfere with the wise management of their children. Though the mother may have received the very best training at the hands of her mother, yet, in nine cases out of ten, as a grandmother she would spoil her daughter's children, by indulgence and injudicious praise. All the patient effort of the mother may be undone by this course of treatment. It is proverbial that grandparents, as a rule, are unfit to bring up their grandchildren. Men and women should pay all the respect and deference due to their parents; but in the matter of the management of their own children, they should allow no interference, but hold the reins of government in their own hands.1 CG 288.1

When They Laugh at Disrespect and Passion—Wherever I go, I am pained by the neglect of proper home discipline and restraint. Little children are allowed to answer back, to manifest disrespect and impertinence, using language that no child should ever be permitted to address to its superiors. Parents who permit the use of unbecoming language are more worthy of blame than their children. Impertinence should not be tolerated in a child even once. But fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts and grandparents laugh at the exhibition of passion in the little creature of a year old. Its imperfect utterance of disrespect, its childish stubbornness, are thought cunning. Thus wrong habits are confirmed, and the child grows up to be an object of dislike to all around him.2 CG 288.2

When They Discourage Proper Correction—I tremble especially for mothers, as I see them so blind, and feeling so little the responsibilities that devolve upon a mother. They see Satan working in the self-willed child of even but a few months of age. Filled with spiteful passion, Satan seems to be taking full possession. But there may be in the house perhaps a grandmother, an aunt, or some other relative or friend, who will seek to make that parent believe that it would be cruelty to correct that child; whereas just the opposite is true; and it is the greatest cruelty to let Satan have the possession of that tender, helpless child. Satan must be rebuked. His hold on the child must be broken. If correction is needed, be faithful, be true. The love of God, true pity for the child, will lead to the faithful discharge of duty.3 CG 289.1

Perplexities of a Family Community—It is not the best policy for children of one, two, or three families that are connected by marriage to settle within a few miles of one another. The influence is not good on the parties. The business of one is the business of all. The perplexities and troubles which every family must experience more or less, and which, as far as possible, should be confined within the limits of the family circle, are extended to family connections and have a bearing upon the religious meetings. There are matters which should not be known to a third person, however friendly and closely connected he may be. Individuals and families should bear them. But the close relationship of several families, brought into constant intercourse, has a tendency to break down the dignity which should be maintained in every family. In performing the delicate duty of reproving and admonishing, there will be danger of injuring feelings, unless it be done with the greatest tenderness and care. The best models of character are liable to errors and mistakes, and great care should be exercised that too much is not made of little things. CG 289.2

Such family and church relationship ... is very pleasant to the natural feelings; but it is not the best, all things considered, for the development of symmetrical Christian characters.... All parties would be much happier to be separated and to visit occasionally, and their influence upon one another would be tenfold greater. CG 290.1

United as these families are by marriage, and mingling as they do in one another's society, each is awake to the faults and errors of the others, and feels in duty bound to correct them; and because these relatives are really dear to one another, they are grieved over little things that they would not notice in those not so closely connected. Keen sufferings of mind are endured, because feelings will arise with some that they have not been treated impartially, and with all that consideration which they deserved. Petty jealousies sometimes arise, and molehills become mountains. These little misunderstandings and petty variances cause more severe suffering of mind than do trials that come from other sources.4 CG 290.2