Raising well-behaved children is not the easiest thing in the world, but it is possible. Mrs. White said she had perfect success in raising children. On this page I want to share some of things that can be done to bing about the desired self-motivated responsibility that is so endearing in a young person. Some things will be positive and should be encouraged; others will be negative and should be repressed. This is a work in progress and I will add as I find important quotes.—Dan

Positive Things

Encourage Godly submission

"Notwithstanding the sacred mission of Christ, his exalted relationship with God, of which he was fully aware, he was not above performing the practical duties of life. He was the Creator of the world, and yet he acknowledged his obligation to his earthly parents, and at the call of duty, in compliance with the wishes of his parents, he returned with them from Jerusalem after the passover, and was subject unto them. {YI February 1, 1873, par. 5}

He submitted to restraints of parental authority, and acknowledged the obligations of a son, a brother, friend and citizen. He discharged his duties to his earthly parents with respectful courtesy. He was the Majesty of Heaven. He had been the great commander in Heaven. Angels loved to do his bidding. And now he was a willing servant, a cheerful, obedient son. {YI February 1, 1873, par. 6}

Jesus was not turned aside by any influence from the faithful service expected of a son. He did not aim to do anything remarkable to distinguish himself from other youth, or to proclaim his heavenly birth. Even his friends and relatives, in all the years that Christ’s life was passed among them, saw no special marks of his divinity. Christ was sedate, self-denying, gentle, cheerful, kind, and ever obedient. He avoided display, but was firm as a rock to principle. {YI February 1, 1873, par. 7}

There is an important lesson for parents and children to learn in the silence of the Scriptures in reference to the childhood and youth of Christ. He was our example in all things. In the little notice given of his childhood and youthful life is an example for parents as well as children, that the more quiet and unnoticed the period of childhood and youth is passed, and the more natural and free from artificial excitement, the more safe will it be for the children, and the more favorable for the formation of a character of purity, natural simplicity, and true moral worth." {YI February 1, 1873, par. 8}

"Youth can serve God as faithfully in the submission of their wills to their parents, and in the filial discharge of the every-day duties of life, as in the house of God." {YI March 1, 1873, par. 7}

Encourage A Simple Life

"The life of Christ was passed in simplicity and purity. He possessed patience which nothing could ruffle, and truthfulness which would not be turned aside. His willing hands and feet were ever ready to serve others, and lighten the burdens of his parents. His wisdom was great, but it was child-like, and increased with his years. His childhood possessed peculiar gentleness, and marked loveliness. His character was full of beauty, and unsullied perfection." {YI April 1, 1872, par. 5}

"Some think they may surely find happiness in a course of indulgence in sinful pleasures, or in deceptive worldly attractions. And some sacrifice physical and moral obligations, thinking to find happiness, and they lose both soul and body. Others will seek their happiness in the indulgence of an unnatural appetite, and consider the indulgence of taste more desirable than health and life. Many suffer themselves to be enchained by sensual passions, and will sacrifice physical strength, intellect, and moral powers, to the gratification of lust. They will bring themselves to untimely graves, and in the Judgment will be charged with self-murder. {YI April 1, 1872, par. 8}

Is this the happiness desirable which is to be found in the path of disobedience and transgression of physical and moral law? Christ’s life points out the true source of happiness, and how it is to be attained. His life points the direct and only path to Heaven. Let the voice of wisdom be heard. Let her mark out the path. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” {YI April 1, 1872, par. 9}

Encourage Self Control

"Parental restraint is irksome. Children generally are not educated to self-control, and to habits of industry and obedience. They have superficial characters. They have followed inclination instead of duty. They are relieved from responsibility and care, and grow up worthless. If children and youth would seek their highest earthly good they must look for it in the path of faithful obedience. A sound constitution, which is the greatest earthly prize, can only be obtained by a denial of unnatural appetite. If they would be happy indeed, they should cheerfully seek to be found at the post of duty, doing the work which devolves upon them with fidelity, conforming their hearts and lives to the perfect pattern." {YI April 1, 1872, par. 11}

The training of children must be conducted on a different principle from that which governs the training of irrational animals. The brute has only to be accustomed to submit to its master; but the child must be taught to control himself. The will must be trained to obey the dictates of reason and conscience. A child may be so disciplined as to have, like the beast. no will of its own, his individuality being lost in that of his teacher. Such training is unwise, and its effect disastrous. Children thus educated will be deficient in firmness and decision. They are not taught to act from principle; the reasoning powers are not strengthened by exercise. So far as possible, every child should be trained to self-reliance. By calling into exercise the various faculties, he will learn where he is strongest, and in what he is deficient. A wise instructor will give special attention to the development of the weaker traits, that the child may form a well-balanced, harmonious character. {RH January 10, 1882, par. 2}      In some schools and families, children appear to be well trained, while under the immediate discipline, but when the system which has held them to set rules is broken up, they seem to be incapable of thinking, acting, or deciding for themselves. Had they been taught to exercise their own judgment as fast and as far as practicable, the evil would have been obviated. But they have so long been controlled by parents or teachers as to wholly rely upon them. He who seeks to have the individuality of his scholars merged in his own, so that reason, judgment, and conscience shall be subject to his control, assumes an unwarranted and fearful responsibility. Those who train their pupils to feel that the power lies in themselves to become men and women of honor and usefulness, will be the most permanently successful. Their work may not appear to the best advantage to careless observers, and their labor may not be valued so highly as that of the instructor who holds absolute control; but the after-life of the pupils will show the results of the better plan of education." {RH January 10, 1882, par. 3}

"The child should be taught self-control, and encouraged in every effort to govern itself." {BEcho January 1, 1894, par. 1}

Encourage Them To Endure Trials And Privations

"The life of Christ was designed to show that purity, stability, and firmness of principle are not dependent upon a life freed from hardships, poverty, and adversity. The trials and privations of which so many youth complain, Christ endured without murmuring. And this discipline is the very experience the youth need, which will give firmness to their character, and make them like Christ, strong in spirit to resist temptation. They will not, if they separate from the influence of those who would lead them astray and corrupt their morals, be overcome by the devices of Satan. Through daily prayer to God, they will have wisdom and grace from him to bear the conflicts and stern realities of life, and come off victorious. Fidelity, and serenity of mind, can only be retained by watchfulness and prayer. Christ’s life was an example of persevering energy, which was not allowed to become weakened by reproach, ridicule, privation or hardships. {YI March 1, 1872, par. 5}

Thus should it be with the youth. If trials increase upon them, they may know that God is testing and proving their fidelity. And in just that degree that they maintain their integrity of character under discouragements, will their fortitude, stability, and power of endurance increase, and they wax strong in spirit." {YI March 1, 1872, par. 6}

Encourage Them To Seek God's Help

"Children and youth, if you would be kept from the paths of sin, as you are not experienced in discerning the devices of Satan, your only safety is in prayer. Lay open all the secrets of the heart to the search of the infinite Eye, and plead with God to make you pure and strong, and to arm you completely for the great conflicts of life. Faith grows by conflicts with doubt; virtue gathers strength by the resistance of temptation." {YI April 1, 1873, par. 3}

Encourage A Life Of Obedience And Industry

"The life of Christ demonstrates to all youth that a life of industry and obedience is favorable to the formation of good moral character, firm principles, strength of purpose, sound knowledge, and high spiritual attainments. Most of the youth of the present day cherish a love for exciting amusements, which is unfavorable for high attainments in mental culture, and for physical strength. The mind is not kept in a calm, healthful state for thought, but is, much of the time, under an excitement; in short, is intoxicated with the amusements it craves, which renders it incapable of close application, reflection, and study. {YI September 1, 1873, par. 5}

The young who do not cherish a respect for their parents, and a love to make themselves useful, cannot enjoy real pleasure. They do not obey the fifth commandment, and the frown of God is upon them. Disobedience to parents and selfish love of amusements do not make them like Jesus, strong in spirit, and characterized for their wisdom, for their strength of morals, and the favor they obtain with God and man, but to the contrary. The love of vain amusements relaxes the tone of mind, and weakens the morals so that many youth have but little self-control and firm principle. {YI September 1, 1873, par. 6}

The life of Christ assures a blessing forever upon a life of cheerful submission to parental restraint and a life of physical and mental industry. The fifth commandment is binding upon children as long as their own lives and the lives of their parents are spared." {YI September 1, 1873, par. 7}

"Children, in the life of Christ, you are instructed that it is not weakness, but noble, indeed manly and womanly, to give loyal, cheerful obedience to your parents. You may take a course that you will be a curse instead of a blessing to your parents and in your home. You can, by your undutiful conduct, be a perpetual care and anxiety to your parents who love you, or you can be a blessing. The life of Christ teaches you, children, that it should be the study of your life to make your parents happy. It is your privilege to be a comfort and joy, rather than a weight and distressing burden." {YI September 1, 1873, par. 11}


Negative Things

Avoid Flattery and Display

"Many fond parents make a mistake in giving their children special attentions, in petting, praising, and flattering them, and relieving them from duties they should be taught to do quite young. Parents will frequently call the attention of visitors to their children. They will exhibit their smartness, and urge forward their children for the purpose of receiving praise and commendation from them, of their children’s capabilities and good qualities. The visitors think that as a matter of course they must say something in praise of these petted children, or they will be thought uncourteous. All this kind of education of children has a direct tendency to make them vain, and to think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. {YI March 1, 1873, par. 1}

Children are hurried to maturity, and in reality there is no period of youth. From childhood, our children are rushed over the years of youth, and are regarded as men and women, rather than inexperienced youth as they truly are, needing the counsel, guidance, and restraint of parental authority. My heart has been pained as I visit families to see the efforts parents make to have their little darlings appear what they really are not, that visitors may think they are the prodigies of smartness. These children are being educated for display, and are forming habits which will encourage physical, mental, and moral feebleness. They do not live to be useful, and to wait upon their parents, and to lighten their burdens. They live for show, and pleasure, and expect to be waited upon, to be carried, instead of bearing their own weight in the world. {YI March 1, 1873, par. 2}

Children that have been praised and laughed at, for their forward speeches, when in company with older persons will seek to attract their notice as though they were of considerable consequence. They seek to make themselves conspicuous, as the principal object of attraction. They have learned to love praise and flattery, and are not satisfied without it. They grow to maturity, courting flattery. They dress and affect in youth the manners of gentlemen and ladies. Natural modesty and simplicity are rarely seen now in children and youth. A bashful child is a beautiful sight. Boldness and saucy independence, are seen in the generation of youth now coming upon the stage of action. Children rule their parents, and parents submit to be ruled. {YI March 1, 1873, par. 3}

Children that are much noticed and indulged, become selfish, exacting, and over-bearing. They expect to be favored, and to receive much from others, while they give nothing in return. Children with characters that are formed with these serious defects, cannot be happy. They carry from childhood to youth their characters warped by wrong discipline, and their religious experience is affected by their education and discipline in childhood. This defect is seen and deplorably felt in church capacity, and in the jealousies of old age. {YI March 1, 1873, par. 4}

Children that are thus educated will have no love or pleasure for practical life. They are not happy unless they can be in society, and be noticed, and make a display. They covet applause and admiration of others, and feel lost without flattery. Such a life opens a wide door for Satan to enter with his temptations to allure them to sin. They have not been disciplined to have their wills and inclinations crossed, therefore they become an easy prey to Satan’s devices. In short, he has almost absolute control of youth who have been thus educated. They have not learned to be self-reliant, and have not noble independence. They live to please others and to be praised and petted. They think that they must do as others do. They have not learned to say, No, to the suggestions of evil companions to do wrong. “If sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” This resistance of evil they have no experience in. To love the right, and choose it, and stand in moral strength and firmness against inclination, in the fear of God, they have not learned. They have not solidity of character to move from principle rather than impulse. They have not been instructed that the favor of God is more to be desired than the honor of princes, and great riches. {YI March 1, 1873, par. 5}