(J.C. Ryle, "The Duties of Parents")
Train your children to a habit of obedience. No habit, I suspect, has such an influence over our lives as this. Parents, determine to make your children obey you — though it may cost you much trouble — and cost them many tears! Let there be no questioning, and reasoning, and disputing, and delaying, and answering back. When you give them a command, let them see plainly that you will have it done.
It ought to be the mark of well-trained children, that they cheerfully do whatever their parents command them. Where, indeed, is the honor which the fifth commandment enjoins, if fathers and mothers are not obeyed cheerfully, willingly, and at once?
Parents, do you wish to see your children happy? Take care, then, that you train them to obey when they are spoken to — to do as they are told.
To my eyes, a parent always yielding — and a child always having its own way — are a most painful sight! Painful, because I feel sure the consequence to that child's character in the end will be self-will, pride, and self-conceit!
Parents, if you love your children, let obedience be a motto and a watchword continually before their eyes!
Learn to say "No" to your children. Show them that you are able to refuse whatever you think is not fit for them. Show them that you are ready to punish disobedience, and that when you speak of punishment, you are not only ready to threaten, but also to perform. Do not merely threaten. Threatened folks, and threatened faults, live long. Punish seldom, but really and earnestly. Frequent and slight punishment is a wretched system indeed.
Beware of letting small faults pass unnoticed under the idea "it is a little one." There are no little things in training children — all are important. Little weeds need plucking up as much as any. Leave them alone, and they will soon become giants!
Parents, if there is any point which deserves your attention, believe me, it is this one. It is one that will give you trouble, I know. But if you do not take trouble with your children when they are young — they will give you trouble when they are old! Choose which you prefer!
Do not be afraid, above all, that such a plan of training will make your child unhappy. I warn you against this delusion.
Depend on it, there is no surer road to unhappiness than always having our own way. To be indulged perpetually is the way to be made selfish — and selfish people and spoiled children, believe me, are seldom happy!