Advice on boys’ too-loud voices (1904)

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1904-roosevelts-nicholas, Archie & Quentin & the dog

Boys’ too-loud voices

Question: I would like to ask you a few questions regarding my little boy. He has a habit of talking very loudly. I have told him about it very often, but it does no good. He also has a will of his own and thinks he is a big man, and he is only a little boy 4-1/2 years old. He is also afraid in the dark, which I would like to break him of. He is good otherwise, for I never have to whip him, but sometimes I scold him. He is the only child I have, and as we live in a flat, he plays all day by himself. – Little Ralph’s Mother

Answer: As to the loud voice, I know just what you mean. Dozens of bigger boys have the same fault. It arises from what the Southern mammy calls “a piggitty feeling.” Add to your kind rebukes the more valuable lesson of example. Study to speak gently and in a subdued voice, whenever you address him. When he begins to rant loudly, check him and tell him you will not listen – that it hurts the drum of your ears. Boys are naturally “bumptious,” and need line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and sometimes there a good deal.

Be gentle with his fear of the darkness. Reason him out of it by assuring him that he is as safe in the night as in the day. Tell him of the watchful white angels who come to take care of him as soon as the light is put out. In time he will outgrow the weakness.

Top photo: Nicholas, Archie & Quentin — sons of President Theodore Roosevelt — and their dog in 1904

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