Susannah Wesley (1669-1742) was a London pastor's wife and the mother of
nineteen children, including hymn writer Charles Wesley and John Wesley,
evangelist and found of Methodism. In his journal, John Wesley recorded his
mother's rules for the family [paraphrased]:
1. Fear of punishment often leads children into lying, till they get
accustomed to it and cannot stop. To prevent this, my mother made a rule
that whenever someone did something wrong, if they would sincerely
confess it, and promise to change their behavior, they would not be
2. No sinful action, such as lying, stealing, playing in church, being
disobedient, fighting, etc., would ever go unpunished.
3. No child should be punished twice for the same error, and if they change
their behavior the error should never be mentioned again.
4. Every act of obedience, especially when it went against their nature,
should always be complimented, and frequently rewarded.
5. If any child was obedient or tried to please the parents, even if it
wasn't done that well, the obedience was kindly accepted and the child
encouraged to do even better in the future.
6. The property of the children would be respected, even the smallest object,
and not taken away from them unless they agreed.
7. Promises should be strictly kept. Once a gift is given it could not be
taken back, unless it was a conditional gift and the agreement it was
based on was violated.
-From "The Heart of John Wesley's Journal"
Below is a version found on the Internet, May 27, 1998.
Over 200 years ago a lady named Suzanna Wesley reared 19 children. She was
devoted to the task and had 16 rules. They are as follows:
(1) Eating between meals not allowed.
(2) As children, they are to be in bed by 8 PM.
(3) They are required to take medicine without complaining.
(4) Subdued self-will in a child working together with God to save the
(5) Teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.
(6) Require all to be still during Family Worship.
(7) Give them nothing they cry for, and only that which they ask for
(8) To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented.
(9) Never allow a sinful at to go unpunished.
(10) Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
(11) Commend 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 Lord.