Training children for living is important for several reasons. These reasons include, to develop in them good and regular habits of behaviour that: contribute to their personal wellness and circumstances, are socially graceful, and are morally just toward others and themselves.
There is also the well known need to train children and assist them in developing such habits of behaviour because their level of immaturity requires that they be correctly guided by others.
(In this essay the parent, guardian and child care-giver are seen as knowing what they intend to pass on, by way of instruction and example, to their children. They are seen also as understanding the relationship between indifference to training children, and, training children in the right way, and the consequences of these two approaches.)
The level of immaturity in children, and their need to be guided by others, fortunately, are not disadvantages. There is always a corresponding willingness and ability in most children to learn from and be guided by adults.
Early childhood is known to be the best years for development of good, as well as bad, regular habits of behaviour. Generally, bad habits of behaviour form where good habits of behaviour are not developed. It is well known what can happen when such bad habits of behaviour are left unchecked during early childhood.
In children, developing correct habits is more immediately important and more likely to be achieved than is understanding the concepts and principles behind the correct habits.
Understanding the concepts and principles behind the correct habits becomes easier as children develop toward adulthood. By late adolescence to early adulthood, these underlying concepts and principles should be understood, and the relationship between good habits of behaviour and these underlying concepts and principles should be seen.
At this stage, the connection between: right action and wrong action on one hand, and their consequences to us and others on the other hand, should also be clearly understood.
Training children draws on several areas of knowledge and practice and is concerned with correctly influencing and shaping the thinking and action of young innocent persons.
Occasionally action has to be taken to prevent undesirable thought and action from becoming firmly rooted in the minds, behaviour and character of some children.
Discipline, simple and appropriate, is used to assist in implanting correct thought and behaviour in place of undesirable thought and behaviour.
Early childhood training and development of good regular habits of behaviour contribute to the building of character and affect how we relate to ourselves, to others as individuals and members of social groups, to institutions of the sovereign state in which we live, and to God.
Parents, guardians and others who are responsible for nurturing children will determine whether or not they participate in the training of those children. They will determine also, if they decide to train those children, what methods of instruction and action they use in their attempt to successfully train those children. It is understood that parental refusal to train children is parental choosing to train them in the wrong way and toward the wrong outcome by default.
By Edward Fagan