Monday, January 9, 2017

Advice For Mothers From The 1930s

While reading a vintage Catholic magazine I came across an article which made me think. It's actually a story about a young mother who gives too much candy to her daughter. "Too much" is defined as 1 (!) chocolate egg a day (it's Easter time in the story). Granted, I don't know how big these eggs actually were, but something tells me not that big.

 An old friend of hers warns her against spoiling the child, but she won't listen and Grandma who regularly comes to visit makes matters even worse as "she never comes with empty hands." As a result, the girl goes from bad to worse and won't even say "Thank you." The mother is too cowardly to confront her as it will lead to a tantrum.

The author goes further to point out that though sweets on their own won't probably cause too much harm, yet giving too much stuff to your children will make them demanding and egoistic. He (I assume it's a he but could be actually a she since there was no name below) states that the parents and those around them often do it not out of goodness of their hearts but more often out of weakness, the desire to buy peace in the family (otherwise kids will keep asking for something) etc etc.

He comes to the conclusion that giving in too much to the demands of your child will lead to their never learning any self-control.

Now I have often pondered on the fact that older generations seemed to be much more mentally tough (both men and women) and less entitled than modern snowflakes and wondered what was the reason of it. Vintage magazines offer us a glimpse into the world long gone and probably one of the clues to the solution of the riddle is their Spartan upbringing?

The funniest thing of all is that when we nowadays look back to that period of time we tend to think that folks were quite poor (and they often were), yet the article talks about "the modern abundance" and "how much easier it used to be to raise your children without all this modern stuff available." If they considered their own contemporaries too lax what would they say about us?

I don't know if I really agree with the premise of the article but then I look around me and keep wondering whether they were right and we are wrong. Well, what do you think?


  1. Housewife from FinlandJanuary 9, 2017 at 5:19 AM

    I believe in discipline. :) If kid is never thought any discipline, he or she cannot discipline himself when he grows up. And self-discipline is the key to all success.

    I am ever so thankfull to my parents that we had rather strict discipline when I was kid. It is so sad to see people who for example are unable to get out of bed in time if they are unemployed of on longer vacation or retired. And when the order of the days is ruined, so is often health. :)

    And when I say "in time", I do not mean that whan couldn't sleep little bit longer on weekends. But I know people who wake up at noon. And this is only one example of the concequences when one lacks self-discipline.

  2. I just find it interesting how they tied self-control to candy and presents!

  3. Yes too many little presents combined with not being firm in requiring Please and Thank You do tend to lean a child towards a lack of gratitude. I like the term "modern snowflakes". That describes the entitled people so aptly.
    (Colleen from MI, USA)

  4. The truth is that we all probably do have it too easy nowadays! I hate to think what would/could happen if a disaster strikes...


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  7. Many of my parents generation [my parents were born in 1911] seemed to also agree on not praising children on every little thing. They would have never clapped and said 'Good job!! when we did anything they thought special as I ss so many young parents do now!! Also they would not tell them they are pretty or extra smart and such. Making it so they thought they were extra special. Looks and brains were not everything. That did not count much in the total outlook on life. A person could have a high IQ they would say but so do many in prison...where did that IQ get them ? It was how you used the intelligence. They said everyone had their own type of intelligence. God made us all different.
    If our friends wanted anything extra, a special book or a present for someone the parent thought out of the budget, then the child was told to go out and earn the money if he wants it. Not by doing extra household chores but out into the neighborhood to earn the money. The child then learned to negotiate a wage and think outside the box on what they could do to earn it. WE also learned to bartered. We were not coddled. We were though loved and we knew it.
    They felt it was their job to teach us from our first years on to be good citizens. To honor our home and our church and country. Good manners and a good heart were expected. Going the extra mile for someone and being content with life was how it was. Although the are always considered the parents, not our buddies, we felt very close to them and still would do anything we could to honor them. They also taught us by example. They lived the life they instructed us to do.
    We have been around several children today that stay beside their parents being included in every adult conversation. They stay and will even kick or punch the other adults. They also constantly interrupt what is being said and of course it is awkward having a child being included when their parent is talking about conversations children should not even be hearing! It is all put up with by the parents. It is not the child's fault. They are their parents little buddies. Equals. Yes there are times children are where parents and other adults are but they ned to understand and taught how to sit quietly and observe and not interrupt. It takes time but we learned. Later as we sat we learned many things about life and stories about the past and such we might not have ever heard had we not been among adults at that time. We felt privileged by that time to be asked to be included in the time together. Many children today are still raised with thought. It sure is not easy being parents is it! ?? !! :-) Sarah

  8. Sarah, I always love your comments:-) Yes, it's true, and even my generation wasn't so spoiled. MY parents never called me "a princess". If you were lazy, they'd call you "Stepmother's daughter" (from Cinderella). Now they call their children "a little dictator" and then wonder why do they behave in such a way...