Confession 195: Parenting Advice From the Pro

The more I read about Susanna Wesley, the more I realize what an astoundingly brilliant mother she was.  I mean, she did raise up John and Charles Wesley, the founder of Methodism and a prolific hymn writer, respectively.  As the mother of about 100 kids (okay, 19), Susanna Wesley had to be organized and efficient, making the most of both time and resources. 

According to reports, each of Susanna’s children got to spend one hour alone with her per week, engaging in whatever activity they so chose.  When Susanna Wesley needed some quiet time she would sit down in a chair and throw her apron up over her head.  When the kids saw Mama hiding behind her own apron, they knew to leave well enough alone!! 🙂

I recently came across Susanna Wesley’s rules for raising children.  Though written some 300 years ago, these rules are completely relevant for raising children today.  As parents, it is important that we actually engage in parenting, and Susanna Wesley did this phenomenally.  So, I’m taking these rules to heart.  Let me know what you think!!

Blessings and Peace,

Susanna Wesley’s Rules for Raising Children

1. Allow no eating between meals. (Working on this.  It does make dinner a more pleasant experience!)

2. Put all children in bed by eight o’clock. (We try to stick to this.  We need some child-free time to restore our sanity!!)

3. Require them to take medicine without complaining.  (My boys really like taking medicine.  I’m a bit concerned.)

4. Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul.  (This is where I need Susanna Wesley to come over for coffee and give me a few tips!!  It’s hard to fight that battle day in and day out with stubborn children!)

5. Teach one to pray as soon as he can speak.  (We do this before meals and at bedtime.  There is nothing sweeter than sitting and listening to your children praying.  I guess God must feel the same way! :-))

6. Require all to be still during family worship.  (We use the nursery every Sunday.  And yet, I wonder, is that the best option?  Does anyone practice a family worship time?  What does that look like in your house?)

7. Give them nothing that they cry for and only that which they ask for politely.  (My youngest daily tests me on this!!)

8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.  (Absolutely brilliant and gives your children a first-hand experience of grace.

9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished. (I’m guessing there’s a difference between a fault and a sinful act.)

10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.  

11. Commend and reward good behavior.  (This is so basic, but I forget it all the time.  I sometimes give more notice to the negative behavior rather than the good.)

12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.

13. Preserve property rights, even in the smallest matters.  (“Garrett, that’s Stephen’s Mater.  Give it back to him, please.”

14. Strictly preserve all promises.  (If you don’t, they’ll remind you!!)

15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.

16. Teach children to fear the rod.  (I think I need to invest in one of those!! :-))

6 thoughts on “Confession 195: Parenting Advice From the Pro

  1. Aurie{OurGoodLife} says:

    These are time tested tips! We do family worship – basically because my girls refuse to go to the nursey! It is hard, especially with Ken preaching so I'm by myself, but we make it through. Sophie does a fantastic job of sitting quietly. I'm still working with bella 🙂

  2. Charming's Mama says:

    I had read this list before and am grateful for the reminder today. About worship, I had heard it said that you should sit with your children in the front row (or near to it) during church, the theory is that if they can see what is going on they are more apt to pay attention. I am still waiting for the magic to happen.

  3. Sara says:

    Yeah, front row for our boys means easier access to the altar area. They've tried to blow out the candles, taken children's time stuff, and crawled under the organ. My favorite, however, was when my oldest surfed down the aisle under the pews during the pastoral prayer time, popped up in front of my husband and said, "Hi Daddy!"

  4. the domestic fringe says:

    Wow! That's a great list. I love 'require no daughter to work before she can read well'.Lots of good advice. Thanks for sharing.BTW – You're doing MK? I need to know about this. I need something. ;-)-FringeGirl

  5. Melody says:

    Oh, thank you for posting this. This was great for me to read today. I love it. Someone just referenced her in saying if a child can't obey his parents he/she won't obey God. Loved these thoughts.

  6. Angie Vik says:

    I've never seen this before. What a great list. We don't do much snacking in our house so the kids eat well at meals. One of my pet peeves is kids who don't want to eat at a meal but are whining about being hungry an hour later. I wonder at what ages she had her children go to bed at 8:00. My youngest is 12 and as much as I'd enjoy time by myself none of my kids would want to go to bed at 8:00. Lots of good stuff to chew on here. Thanks.

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