Childrearing Rules ~

Susannah Wesley (1669-1742)

Susannah Wesley’s 16 RULES on child rearing

Susannah Wesley was the mother of 19 children, including John and Charles Wesley. Through much adversity, she dedicated her life to instilling a sense of Christian Destiny into each of her children. Her children went on to change the world.

Here are 16 rules she laid down in her home.

1. Eating between meals not allowed.

2. As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m.

3. They are required to take medicine without complaining.

4. Subdue self- will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child’s soul.

5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.

6. Require all to be still during Family Worship.

7. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.

8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.

9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.

10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.

11. Comment and reward good behavior.

12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.

13. Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.

14. Strictly observe all promises.

15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.

16. Teach children to fear the rod.


Susannah Wesley believed that for a child to grow into a self-disciplined adult, he/she must first be a parent-disciplined child. To her, the stubborn flesh was the hardest battle for Christians to fight, and Godly parents would do well to equip their children to overcome it early. She writes:

“When the will of a child is totally subdued, and it is
brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies …
may be passed by. . . . I insist on the conquering of the will of children betimes, because
this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education … when this
is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by reason and piety.”

Published in: on July 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for this post. I have long been an admirer of Susanna Westly, but find very little information on her parenting methods. Considering the results of her parenting, I feel she is someone to hold in high regard.

  2. Just learned about S.W. in church on sunday morning and all my respect goes out to this one women. Its hard to just stick by one of these rules with one child but nine children, i just couldn’t imagine! It was and still is a joy to learn about her.

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