Your Child: Today and Tomorrow / Some Problems for Parents Concerning Punishment, Reasoning, Lies, Ideals and Ambitions, Fear, Work and Play, Imagination, Social Activities, Obedience, Adolescence, Will, Heredity

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YOUR CHILD

TODAY AND TOMORROW

YOUR CHILD

TODAY AND TOMORROW

SOME PROBLEMS FOR PARENTS CONCERNING

PUNISHMENT REASONING
LIES IDEALS AND AMBITIONS
FEAR WORK AND PLAY
IMAGINATION SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
OBEDIENCE ADOLESCENCE
WILL HEREDITY

By

SIDONIE MATZNER GRUENBERG

Second Revised Edition Enlarged

WITH A FORWARD BY BISHOP JOHN H. VINCENT

Chancellor of Chautauqua Institution

WITH 12 ILLUSTRATIONS

1912, 1913, 1920

TO HER WHOSE DEVOTION AND UNTIRING EFFORT TOWARD AN INTELLIGENT
UNDERSTANDING OF HER CHILDREN HAVE EVER BEEN AN INSPIRATION,

MY MOTHER
AND
TO MY CHILDREN
WHOSE CONTRIBUTION TOWARD MY EDUCATION HAS BEEN GREATER THAN THAT
FROM ANY OTHER SOURCE, THIS LITTLE BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.

PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION

In the sad years that have intervened since this book was published,
we have all been impressed by the brilliant achievements of science
in every department of practical life. But whereas the application
of chemistry and electricity and biology might, perhaps, be safely
left to the specialists, it seems to me that in a democracy it is
essential for every single person to have a practical understanding
of the workings of his own mind, and of his neighbor’s. The
understanding of human nature should not be left entirely in the
hands of the specialists—it concerns all of us.

There is no better way for beginning the study of human nature than
by following the unfolding of a spirit as it takes place before us
in the growth of a child. I am humbly grateful of the assurances
received from many quarters that these chapters have aided many
parents and teachers in such study.

In the present edition I have made a number of slight changes to
harmonize the reading with the results of later scientific studies;
there is a new list of references and some new material in the
chapter on sex education; and there is a new chapter suggesting the
connection between the new psychology and the democratic ideals of
human relations.

SIDONIE MATZNER GRUENBERG.

March, 1920.

PREFACE

In my efforts to learn something about the nature of the child, as a
member of child-study groups, and in my own studies, I have found a
large mass of material—accumulated by investigators into the
psychology and the biology of childhood—which could be of great
practical use to all concerned with the bringing up of children. In
this little book I have tried to present some of this material in a
form that will make it available for those who lack the time, or the
special training or the opportunity to work it out for themselves.
It has been my chief aim to show that a proper understanding of and
sympathy with the various stages through which the child normally
passes will do much toward making not only the child happier, but
the task of the parents pleasanter. I am convinced that our failure
to understand the workings of the child’s mind is responsible for
much of the friction between parents and children. We cannot expect
the children, with their limited experience and their undeveloped
intellect, to understand us; if we are to have harmony, intimacy and
cooperation, these must come through the parents’ successful efforts
at understanding the children.

In speaking of the child always in the masculine, I have followed
the custom of the specialists. It is of course to be understood that
“he” sometimes means “she” and usually “he or she.”

It has been impossible to refer at every point to the source of the
material used. One unconsciously absorbs many ideas which one is
unable later to trace to their sources; in addition to this, the
material I have here presented has been worked over so that it is
impossible in most cases to ascribe a particular idea to a
particular person. I wish, however, to acknowledge my indebtedness
to all who have patiently labored in this field, and especially to
those Masters of Child Study, G. Stanley Hall, John Dewey, Earl
Barnes, Edwin A. Kirkpatrick and Edward L. Thorndike. I owe much to
my opportunity to work in the Federation for Child Study. These
groups of mothers and teachers have done a great deal, under the
guidance and inspiration of Professor Felix Adler, to develop a
spirit of co-operation in the attack upon the practical problems of
child-training in the home.

I am very grateful to Mrs. Hilda M. Schwartz, of Minneapolis, for
her assistance in revising the manuscript and in securing the
illustrations.

The assistance of my husband has been invaluable. In his suggestions
and criticisms he has given me the benefit of his experience as
biologist and educator.

SIDONIE MATZNER GRUENBERG.

New York May, 1913.

A FOREWORD

In the thought of the writer of this prefatory page, the book he
thus introduces is an exceptionally sane, practical and valuable
treatment of the problem of problems suggested by our present
American Civilization, namely: The Training of the On-coming
Generation—the new Americans—who are to realize the dreams of our
ancestors concerning personal freedom and development in the social,
political, commercial and religious life of the Republic.

There is always hope for the adult who takes any real interest in
self-improvement. One is never too old to “turn over a new leaf” and
to begin a new record. A full-grown man may become a “promising
child” in the kingdom of grace. He may dream dreams and see visions.
He may resolve, and his experience of forty or more years in
“practising decision” and in persisting despite counter inclinations
may only increase his chances for mastering a problem, overcoming a
difficulty and developing enthusiasm. A page of History or of
Ethics, a poet’s vision or a philosopher’s reasoning, will find a
response in his personality impossible to a juvenile. His knowledge
of real life, of persons he has met, of theories he has often
pondered, of difficulties he has encountered and canvassed, the
conversations and discussions in which he has taken part—all give
new value to the pages he is now turning, and while he may not as
easily as formerly memorize the language, he at once grasps,
appreciates and appropriates the thoughts there expressed.

With these advantages as a thinker, a reader, a man of affairs, a
father interested in his or children and in their education, what a
blessing to him and to his family comes through the reading of an
interesting, suggestive and stimulating book on child training such
as this practical volume by Mrs. Gruenberg. In fact, the book
becomes a sort of a Normal Class in itself. It is attractive,
ingenious, illustrative and stimulating—an example of the true
teaching spirit and method.

This volume has in it much that a preacher and pastor would do well
to read. And a very wise pastor will be inclined to bring
together Mothers and Sunday-School Teachers and read to them certain
paragraphs until they are induced to put a copy of the volume in
their own library and thus become, in a sense, members of a strong
and most helpful “Normal Class.”

One thing every Sunday-School Teacher and every Parent should
remember is that all attempts to experiment in the instruction of
children are so many steps towards “Normal Work,” in which are
included the use of “illustrations,” the framing of “questions,” the
devices to “get attention,” and the effort to induce children to
“think for themselves” and freely to express their thoughts,
reasonings, doubts, difficulties and personal independent opinions.
All these efforts not only develop power in the child, but they
react upon the teacher and ensure for the “next meeting of the
class” some “new suggestion,” some additional question, some fresh
view of the whole subject by which both teacher and pupils will be
stimulated and instructed.

In our intercourse with children let us aim to develop the
teaching motive, and we shall not only make the work of the
“class room” profitable to the pupils, but each of us will find new
delight, new inspiration and an unanticipated degree of success in
this beautiful and divine ministry.

JOHN H. VINCENT.
CHICAGO AND CHAUTAUQUA,

May 7, 1913.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. YOU AND YOUR CHILD
II. THE PROBLEM OF PUNISHMENT
III. WHEN YOUR CHILD IMAGINES THINGS
IV. THE LIES CHILDREN TELL
V. BEING AFRAID
VI. THE FIRST GREAT LAW
VII. THE TRAINING OF THE WILL
VIII. HOW CHILDREN REASON
IX. WORK AND PLAY
X. CHILDREN’S GANGS, CLUBS, AND FRIENDSHIPS
XI. CHILDREN’S IDEALS AND AMBITIONS
XII. THE STORK OR THE TRUTH
XIII. THE GOLDEN AGE OF TRANSITION
XIV. HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT
XV. FREEDOM AND DISCIPLINE

ILLUSTRATIONS

THE CREATIVE IMPULSE IS BORN WITH EVERY NORMAL CHILD

THE IMPULSE TO ACTION EARLY LEADS TO DOING
IMAGINATION SUPPLIES THIS TWO-YEAR-OLD A PRANCING STEED
NEITHER ARE GIRLS AFRAID TO CLIMB
ONLY A GOOD REASON CAN WARRANT CALLING AN ABSORBED CHILD FROM HIS
OCCUPATION
HABITS OF CAREFUL WORK FURNISH A GOOD FOUNDATION FOR THE WILL
WORK IS PLAY
LET THEM ROMP IN THE WINTER AS WELL AS IN SUMMER
IN THEIR GAMES THEY SHOULD LEARN TO LOSE AS WELL AS TO WIN
DON’T FORGET HOW TO PLAY WITH THE CHILDREN
THE BOYS NEED A CHANCE TO GET TOGETHER
IN THE COUNTRY CHILDREN BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH THE FACTS OF LIFE

YOUR CHILD TODAY AND TOMORROW

I.

YOU AND YOUR CHILD

Housekeeping, in the sense of administering the work of the
household, has been raised almost to a science. The same is true of
the feeding of children. But the training of children still lags
behind, so far as most of us are concerned, in the stage occupied by
housekeeping and farming a generation or two ago. There has, indeed,
been developed a considerable mass of exact knowledge about the
nature of the child, and about the laws of his development; but this
knowledge has been for most parents a closed book. It is not what
the scientists know, but what the people apply, that marks our
progress.

“Child-study” has been considered something with which young
normal-school students have to struggle before they begin their
real struggle with bad boys. But mothers have been expected to know,
through some divine instinct, just how to handle their own children,
without any special study or preparation. That the divine instinct has
not taught them properly to feed the young infant and the growing
child we have learned but slowly and at great cost in human life and
suffering; but we have learned it. Our next lesson should be to
realize that our instincts cannot be relied upon when it comes to
understanding the child’s mind, the meaning of his various activities,
and how best to guide his mental and moral development.

Mistakes that parents—and teachers—make in dealing with the
child’s mind are not often fatal. Nor can you always trace the evil
effects of such mistakes in the later character of the child. But
there can be no doubt that many of the heartbreaks, misunderstandings,
and estrangements between parents and children are due to mistakes
that could have been avoided by a knowledge of the nature of the
child’s mind.

There are, fortunately, many parents who arrive at an understanding
of the nature of the child through sympathetic insight, through
quick observation, through the application of sound sense and the
results of experience to the problems that arise. It is not
necessary that all of us approach the child in the attitude of the
professional scientist; indeed, it is neither possible for us to do
so, nor is it desirable that we should. But it is both possible and
desirable that we make use of the experience and observations of
others, that we apply the results of scientific experiments, that we
reënforce our instincts with all available helps. We need not fall
into the all-too-common error of placing common-sense and practical
insight in opposition to the method of the scientists. Everyone in
this country appreciates the wonderful and valuable services of
Luther Burbank, and no one doubts that if his method could be
extended the whole nation would benefit in an economic way. Yet
Burbank has been unable to teach the rest of us how to apply his
shrewd “common-sense” and his keen intuition to the improvement of
useful and ornamental plants. It was necessary for scientists to
study what he had done in order to make available for the whole
world those principles that make his practice really productive of
desirable results. In the same way it is well for every parent and
every teacher—everyone who has to do with children—to supplement
good sense and observation with the results of scientific study.

On the other hand, there is no universal formula for the bringing up
of children, one that can be applied to all children everywhere and
always, any more than there is a universal formula for fertilizing
soil or curing disease or feeding babies. Yet there are certain
general laws of child development and certain general principles of
child training which have been derived from scientific studies of
children, and which agree with the best thought and experience of
those who learned to know their children without the help of
science. These general laws and principles may be profitably learned
and used in bringing up the rising generation.

Too many people, and especially too many parents, think of the child
as merely a small man or woman. This is far from a true conception
of the child. Just as the physical organs of the child work in a
manner different from what we find in the adult, so the mind of the
child works along in a way peculiar to its stage of development. If
a physician should use the same formulas for treating children’s
ailments as he uses with adults, simply reducing the size of the
dose, we should consider his methods rather crude. If a parent
should feed an infant the same materials that she supplied to the
rest of the family, only in smaller quantities, we should consider
her too ignorant to be entrusted with the care of the child. And for
similar reasons we must learn that the behavior of the child must be
judged according to standards different from those we apply to an
adult. The same act represents different motives in a child and in
an adult—or in the same child at different ages.

Moreover, each child is different from every other child in the

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