While cleaning out my sock drawer the other day, I found a copy of an Ann Landers column, in which she reprinted a list of “12 Rules for Raising Delinquent Children.” According to Landers, the list was prepared by the Houston, TX, Police Department. It appeared in Landers’s column back in 1959, and got a lot of positive feedback.
Twelve Rules for Raising Delinquent Children
1. Begin in infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way, he will grow to believe the world owes him a living.
2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he’s cute. It will also encourage him to pick up “cuter” phrases that will blow off the top of your head later.
3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait till he is 21, and then let him “decide for himself.”
4. Avoid use of the word “wrong.” It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe, later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.
5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around — books, shoes, and clothing. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility onto others.
6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.
7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your child. In this way, he will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.
8. Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that ever sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him.”
12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be apt to have it.