In the late 1950’s in Houston, TX there was a real problem. Houston at the time had earned the title of “Murder Capital” of the country. The city officials and law enforcement stepped into high gear to try and determine the root of the problem. What they found were younger people in their late teens and early twenties, were committing the vast majority of the crimes. As they dug further into the problem, they found most of these individuals had come from broken homes. Continuing to move forward they determined many of the parents from those homes share similar traits.
Strange how even then we saw many of the problems which seem prevalent today. Tell me if some of these viewpoints sound familiar?
“I want my child to have everything I did not.”
“I work so many hours to provide the right life for my child (but I am never really around because of it.)”
“I do not want to push any religious view on my child; I want them to be able to make up their mind for themselves.”
“I want my child to know that I am always on their side.”
“I do not mind doing everything for my child; it lets them know I love them.”
The thing is as parents we love our children so much we can forget our role as a parent is to prepare them to become an adult, NOT to make sure they enjoy their childhood. So many times when I was growing up I would hear adults tell me to “enjoy these years in your youth, they are the best ones of your life.”
Excuse my bluntness… BULL!!! If as an adult someone feels the best years of his or her life were their childhood then they SUCK at being an adult. Childhood is our chance to mold and prepare our kids to grow into the kind of adults who can lead good lives, enjoy the fruits of their labor, and be filled with happiness as they produce meaningful and quality relationships.
So, back to the city of Houston in the 1950’s. The city launched a large Public Relations campaign to help combat against their findings. As a result, they created and posted the “Twelve Rules to Raising a Delinquent Child.” These have been shared and reprinted countless times since being drafted, but somehow it seems we are still losing the battle.
It does not matter if you compare these to psychology, biblical guidelines, or even just common sense. They work! I pray I remember these as I continue my journey as a Father and that others who read them will also benefit.
12 Rules to Raising a Delinquent Child:
- Begin with infancy to give the child everything they want. In this way they will grow up to believe the world owes them a living.
- When they pick up bad words, laugh at them. This will make them think they’re cute. It will also encourage them to pick up “cuter phrases” that will blow off the top of your head later.
- Never give them any spiritual training. Wait until they are 21, and then let them “decide for themselves.”
- Avoid the use of the word “wrong.” It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition them to believe later, when they get arrested for breaking the law, that society is against them and they are being wrongfully persecuted.
- Pick up everything they leave lying around – books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for them so that they will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others.
- Let them read any material they can get their hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but don’t worry about their minds feasting on garbage.
- Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.
- Give the child all the spending money they want. Never let them earn their way. Why should they have things as tough as you did?
- Satisfy their every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial might make them frustrated.
- Take their side against neighbors, teachers, policemen, and other people of authority. They are all prejudiced against your child anyway and he or she shouldn’t need to respect authority.
- When they get into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him or her!” After all, why should you be responsible, you are only the parent.
- Prepare yourself for a life of grief. You’ll surely have it.