When habit training is mentioned there often is a collective sign from moms saying, “Yes, I need this for my children.” What is not as often understood is that whether you implement purposeful habit training or not you are most certainly habit training a child.
Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children, upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.
Yes, every day and every hour you are influencing the habits and future character of your child. We can either do this intentionally and reap the benefits of those efforts or do so unintentionally and risk the result.
Purposeful habit training is work. We have to set aside the common notion of “he is too young to understand”, “he will grow out of it”, to using every opportunity as a means to influencing future character. Gentle correction to replace poor habits with proper habits can last a lifetime.
The habits of the child produce the character of the man.
We often think of habits in terms of a child brushing his teeth or making his bed. We think of chores and not character. Yet, character is directly correlated to the behavior habits a child forms. If a child who calls his sibling names is not corrected and taught respect, then this behavior will become a habit. The child will grow to be someone who lacks respect for others. If a child is not taught to be obedient as a habit, then the child will grow to accept his own disobedience as a normal response to authority. We hear that consistency is the key to parenting. Habit training falls in line with that train of thought. It is your choice to choose to teach consistently or inconsistently. Think about your struggles and where consistency would serve you well. Help your children to establish these habits early in life. You will also reap the benefits by creating a day that runs much smoother.
The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.
Personally I’ve found that gentle parenting and gentle teaching combined with love and respectful guidance has produced wonderful results in my home.
Don’t miss the rest of the Charlotte Mason Homeschooling series.