17 Reasons to Treat Children Gently

In the past eight years we have become pedagogical magpies, acquiring information on child development and learning from so many different sources.  But one we come back to again and again is Maria Montessori.  Her work and thoughts have revolutionised the thinking on raising children for decades and in part informed the peaceful parenting and home education movements.


Her key principle was that children learn not from what we tell them, but from what surrounds them and what they observe and discern from their world.  Here are some of her guidelines on gently raising children to be the best they can be:

  • If a child is often criticized, they learn how to condemn others.

  • If a child is often praised, they learn how to evaluate others.

  • If a child is shown hostility, they will learn to fight.

  • If you are honest with a child, they learn the meaning of fairness.

  • If a child is too often derided, they become shy.

  • If a child feels safe, they learn to trust people.

  • If a child is too often made to feel shame, they will learn to always feel guilty.

  • If a child is given frequent encouragement, they will have high self-esteem.


  • If a child is given support, they will be confident.

  • If a child lives in an atmosphere of friendship and feels that others need it, they will learn how to find love.

  • Never speak badly of a child, in their presence or otherwise.

  • Concentrate on nurturing the good in a child.

  • Always listen to and answer a child’s questions or requests should they approach you.

  • Respect a child even when they make a mistake. They will be able to correct their error soon enough.

  • Always be ready to help a child who requires assistance, and to stand aside when they’ve found everything they need.

  • Help a child to master things early. This can be done by making sure the world around them is filled with affection, peace, and love.

  • Always display the best manners to a child. Show them how to be the best they can be.

With thanks to Deb at Bits of Positivity


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