Advice for Parents from The Christian Home

The Christian Recorder was “Published by the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, for the Dissemination of Religion, Morality, Literature and Science.” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Accessible Archives subscribers can find The Christian Recorder  in complete form from 1861 through December 1902; excluding 1892.

This article on with parenting advice appeared in January of 1861.


That is a mistaken policy which sacrifices the future good of the child to his present indulgence. It may be pleasant to avoid the struggle with self-will, and the effort of subduing it; but will it be agreeable in coming years, to reap the fruits of such neglect in the sad ruin of a son or daughter? Painful as it may be to harrow the young heart with the grief of chastisement, may it not, thereby, like the harrowed field, be the better prepared for the “good seed?” The experience of the world, in this respect, has amply verified the proverb: – “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son.” “My father was too easy with me,” exclaimed a young man in college, upon being remonstrated with for the sin of intemperance. He admitted that he was doing wrong – that he was on the road to ruin – and on being told that he was not compelled to drink, he exclaimed, – “No, not compelled; but you do not know what it is to get a taste for liquor. I am a miserable fellow. My father was too easy with me when I was a boy.”

Family living in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in 1940

Family living in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in 1940


Another extreme against which the faithful parent will equally guard, is that of undue severity. His authority is not magisterial but parental, and its chief appeal ought, therefore, to be not to fear, but to love. We need not resort to the rod when a word or a look may suffice; and should enforce obedience not so much by the severity as the certainty of punishment. We should beware of too strongly exciting the fears of children. Most frightful consequences have sometimes ensued from thoughtless appeals to this principle. Says an English writer, – “I know in Philadelphia, as fine, and sprightly, and intelligent a child as ever was born, made an idiot for life, by being, when about three years old, shut into a dark closet by a maid servant, in order to terrify it into silence.” A wholesome, kind, and judicious discipline will be found sufficient for every emergency; and being once firmly established, will become the basis upon which to rear the throne of love, and will prepare the way for affection to exert its constraining power, and bring its subjects beneath its sway.

–The Christian Home.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Top Photo: Family moving, Opelousas, Louisiana, 1938

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