When should you scold a child?

Hedwig Dohm
The mothers
Hedwig Dohm

 << zurück weiter >> 

The punishment in the family.

I have had the opportunity to observe the effect of the punishments in many educated families, and I have come to the conclusion that in most cases they were pointless, pointless because they did not serve to improve or ennoble the child. At most they were to be used as a deterrent when it was necessary to prevent the child from harming himself.

The rod behind the mirror (earlier common use) is symptomatic of an educational method in which the punishment hovers like a sword of Damocles over children's happiness and joy.

The average mother does not think much about the punishments to be given to the child: locking up, standing in a corner, withdrawing food, beating, shaming others, and - scolding, scolding - that is the main thing. And yet this incessant scolding, contrary to every aesthetic sense, is the most ineffective of all punitive means, one that deadened the sense of honor and fills the atmosphere of the house as if with bad air.

The mother (but also the father) mostly lacks the cool calm, the restraint of the nerves, the objective over-punishment that the criminal office demands. The parents carry their anger, their passionate affects into the punishment, it grows out of their minds, so to speak, so that it is not infrequently carried out beyond the intended measure and gives the impression of a discharge of parental anger rather than one doing the improvement of the child.

Is there always so much noise in the upbringing? It seems to me that it ought to be manageable as if it were quiet, like behind the child's back.

I heard a mother scolding her child roughly and violently at Christmas and then saying to the bystanders: "How nice it is to celebrate the feast of peace at Christmas with the family."

Observe how the mother treats the children on a walk, for example. Scolding and shouting is constant: "Lotte, you are falling into the water" (the child doesn't even think about it). "Seriously, not so close to the tree, you make yourself green, - Friedchen, come here, you have nibbled blueberries. -" "You shouldn't, - you mustn't, - if you want to, - you will be careful , - go more to the right, - let that, - do that - "etc A walk with such a mother is not enjoyable.

What such a little heart leaf is not scolded for! Also for the heartiest expressions of his childlike innocence and naivete

"Go," says the mother to the five-year-old son, "ask grandpa how he slept." "Oh, I don't care at all," says the sincere child. Since it had its scolding away.

Her mother harshly forbids eleven-year-old Hilde from playing with her little sister, who is in bed and is supposed to sleep. She does it anyway. The mother wants to get upset. "You know, mummy, with friendliness you can get a lot further with us."

How innumerable children's tears are cried that could remain uncredited with a loving upbringing. Every mother who has lost a beloved child to death knows how every blow, every bad word, every wish that she denied out of comfort or at least for no reason burns on her soul.

The punishments inflicted on an innocent child are terrible. You will never be forgotten by him. The adult children hold it up to their parents for decades.

One of the atrocities inflicted on children is forcing them to eat foods they do not like. I remember from childhood that peas resisted me. I was forced to eat them. I vomited it. I even liked to eat them later.

A family scene like the following is typical: A little Paul I know didn't want to eat his soup. Slowly, slowly, he spoons some of it. "Eat faster," the father snaps at him. Paulchen immerses himself in the soup plate and, in order to divert attention from the soup, wants to allow himself a comment about the figures on the edge. - "Be silent and eat." - He keeps spooning, fighting back tears. Finally - it's done. Taking a deep breath, he puts the spoon down. The father's hawk eye notices that a few spoons are still running together at the bottom of the plate. - "The soup is eaten on the spot!" Paulchen grimaces, a sob rises in his throat. He eats and swallows his tears with him. "‘ What, you are crying? Get out with you! " Howling. Beatings. - The whole table is disturbed. After a quarter of an hour the crying little Paul appears again, the whole little body twitching with excitement, and has to apologize.

Such scenes are hideous!

Another, more appealing family picture: Reinhard doesn't want to eat his soup either. There aren't enough dumplings in it. "Don't eat them," says the mother, "but you can give Lottchen the dumplings." Reinhard meows a little longer, then he quietly eats his dumplings himself. And the family peace remains undisturbed, the meal undisturbed.

A little boy is often late for dinner. The mother decreed: "If Fritzchen comes too late again, we'll pretend he's not there, he's air for us." - Fritzchen comes too late, nobody answers his "Hello," nobody answers him when he asks. This air for all, this quiet, noiseless punishment hits the boy most sensitively.


It also often happens that parents punish misconduct on the part of their children for which they are responsible. Obviously there is nothing more suitable to undermine parental authority. I saw a father eating immoderately at the table. When he looked up once and saw that the child was also eating improperly, he slapped it on the fingers because it was doing as he was.

I heard the same father scold the child for his bad demeanor. It nudges the older sister and whispers to her: "See how father sits." - It is also not uncommon for the parents to punish the child if the child accidentally and unintentionally causes them anger, injury or harm. Fritzchen accidentally pushed the cigar out of his father's hand that it burned himself. Lieschen dropped the bread and butter on her mother's good dress. Such little awkwardness, certainly not punishable, is usually atoned for by parents with a good slap; and they do not proceed more sensibly than a child who knocks the table on which it bumped.

Little Erich works around in the salon. "Muttchen, come!" Mother is coming. The hardworking child has a huge bar of soap in his hands, which he uses with all his might to rub off the highly elegant and very sensitive plush blanket. And full of pride and zest for action, he tells his mother: "Mummy, look, your sofa is so dirty, I'll do the dishes clean." Oh God, the good fellow had a cat's head. The deed was bad, but the child was good, and it is the child that matters, not the deed.


Nor are those punishments that promote the authority of the parents and are beneficial for the children, which are given so superciliously, without seriousness, only in order to get the father or mother out, and which are fun for the children.

Lili ate raw pods and is scolded by her mother for it. She wants to roll over it with laughter. "How do you laugh when I scold you?" - "Well, because I don't care about it." - "You don't care about it?" - "Because you're not really angry at all."


Reinhard is naughty. "You go straight into the corner," scolded the mother. Reinhard jumps up happily. "Yes, mom, but I'd rather go to the other corner, I like that much better."

Reinhard lied. The father is very sad about it. The mother asks: "Aren't you very sorry, Reinhard, that you saddened your father?"

Reinhard: "No, when he's not there."

Mother: "Don't you know that lying is something very ugly?"

Reinhard: "Being naughty is much worse."

Mother: "What do you mean by being naughty?"

Reinhard: "If I don't do what you tell me."

Mother: "You will eat in the nursery for a whole week as a punishment."

Reinhard: "Well, I really like to eat with Fraulein."

Mother: "Not with Miss, all alone."

Reinhard: "But not on the oilcloth, you have to uncover a tablecloth for me all by myself."


The mother announces to the naughty Lieschen: "As a punishment you are not allowed to accept the next invitation." The next invitation comes from a little cousin. The mother and older sister are also invited. Muttchen therefore allows Lieschen to accept the invitation. "Oho," says Lieschen, "I won't put up with that. First prohibit and then allow?"


It is part of the pedagogical catechism that parents must be united in the upbringing of the child. Have to? Wouldn't unanimity be strange, since man and woman are supposed to be so fundamentally different from one another?

Why should two people - whether married or not - who think differently in almost all areas, who are at a different level of education, agree precisely on their pedagogical views? Indeed, it is almost the rule that father and mother deviate from one another in their means of upbringing and their upbringing goals.

The consistent upbringing of the children presupposes a harmonious marriage. Are the good harmonious marriages, the blessings of which the children feel, in the majority? My experience denies it. The children are almost always drawn into the disaffections and conflicts of marriage. The mother's tears and the father's anger fall heavily on young hearts. The number of parents who keep their quarrels a secret from their children is very small. Yes, it is not uncommon for parents to appeal to the judgment of their older children: "Who is right, father or mother?" And it is not only in exceptional cases that the parents argue in the presence of the children about the upbringing of the children, what they should be forbidden or allowed, how they should be punished or rewarded.

Dear, good Mr. Stephan, teacher in a small private school (I'll talk about him later), explains the ten commandments to the children. He explains the sixth commandment: "You should not commit adultery" as follows: No quarrel and discord should disturb marriage, man and woman should stick together in love and peace throughout their lives, "as you, dear children, have in mind with your parents. "

The children shout in confusion: "But no, no, our parents quarrel very often, sometimes dad and sometimes mom." "But, dear children," interrupts the very dismayed teacher, "that's not meant seriously." - "Yes, yes - really meant seriously," and Mariechen Meißner calls out: "When I brush my teeth in the morning, there is already a row next door."

When Traut was talking about the matter at home, the mother asked: "You didn't scream, did you, Trautchen?" "Yes, of course I yelled along, you quarrel a lot."

*           *
*


 << zurück weiter >>