The “Secret” To Well-behaved Amish Children
If you’ve spent a little time in an Amish home or around Amish families, you may have noticed the children and their behavior. Many people comment that Amish children are – generally – especially well-behaved (at least in public or in the presence of non-Amish). I’d say that is generally the case as well.
I’ve seen it from two angles. First, as someone visiting Amish families for brief periods in their homes (while selling books), I would time and again notice how quietly and calmly the children sat, typically staring at me from the table or other vantage points around the room, as I showed their parents a set of Bible story books. I’d feel a half-dozen sets of little eyes on me for the whole time I was there. With maybe only the toddler or younger child disrupting the calm.
I’ve also stayed with Amish families for longer periods (even living in Amish home for many weeks), showing me how the children act on an everyday basis rather than for brief periods of time. I would say that children are children and like to play, be rambunctious, and sometimes get in trouble, whether Amish or English. But on the whole I’d agree with the assessment that Amish children are on balance better-behaved than non-Amish American children. Maybe even a lot better.
Why is that the case? I talk about that in this new video. Some of what outsiders are observing may be due to the novelty of having an English visitor for a brief time in the home, for instance. But, I’d also say a lot of it has to do with the way Amish raise their children. In this case, that means physical discipline (spanking). I talk about why and how the Amish do this in the video, including when it is not okay to discipline a child, as explained in one Amish guide.
There can certainly be dysfunctional or abusive situations in Amish homes as well. But the general idea is that discipline should come from a place of love for the child and his or her well-being. In the video I look at two areas where physical discipline is seen in Amish society – the home, and in schools. Runtime: 6:04
Years ago, I was doing the touristy thing in Pennsylvania. I stopped at one home, a little boy came out and we chatted. He was about 6 I think at the time. Knew English fluently! His dad or grandfather called to him in Dutch, he was being reminded about chores I think. Anyway he showed me a big blister he had on his foot. And he wanted to know the Englisch world was like. I tried to convey that his life was better…ours is to hurry, be rude and where he was just peaceful calmer.