After making a study of juvenile delinquency, the police department of Houston, Texas, issued a leaflet containing 12 rules on “How to Raise a Juvenile Delinquent.” They are:

1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up 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.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21 and then let him decide for himself.

4. Avoid the use of the word “wrong”. It may develop in the child a “guilt complex.” This will prepare him to believe that when he is punished later for stealing cars or assaulting women, society is “against him” and that he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up everything after him: his shoes, his books, his clothes. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing his responsibilities on others.

6. Let him read anything he wants. Have no concern whatever for what goes into his mind. Be careful that the silver and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your child. Then he will not be shocked if 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 every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.

10. Take his part against policemen, teachers, and neighbors. 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 likely to have it.

Note: The original article has been linked to the Houston Police Department, though the origins are not confirmed. Regardless of the true source, this article is timeless and thought provoking for parents.

A Christian response:

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Proverbs 29:15

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Colossians 3:20