Twelve Tips for Raising Delinquent Children

 A poster went up containing “Twelve Rules for Raising Delinquent Children”, attributed to the Houston Police Department. Whether it really came from the police no one today knows, but I think that they were onto something. Not much has changed from the fifties it seems. Here are the twelve rules and how they can apply to children today:

  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. – Sound familiar? The entitled mentality did not start with this generation of children. That is why it is so important to teach your children the value of saying no. They must learn to earn what they want or they will not appreciate it. I know as parents it is hard not to give your child whatever you can, but if you want them to grow up to be balanced and happy adults you should learn how to tell them no.


  1. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he’s cute. – Swearing, disrespect of authority, telling you no, throwing tantrums they all come under the same header. It does not get better as they get older either. From the moment your child starts rebelling you have to counter it because it will only get harder on them and you.


  1. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21 and then let him decide for himself. – I know that many people probably would not agree with this stamen today, but I agree with it. You have to give children a moral code to live by. Even if it is just ‘treat others as you want to be treated’. Letting them grow up with no moral guidance is like setting out on a boat with no rudder. They will be swept up by the currents and taken wherever the wind pleases. 


  1. 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. –I never understood parents who refused to tell their children no. Boundaries make for happy people and ids are just going to keep pushing until they get stopped. I know not all kids are like that, but the vast majority need to have firm rules. Respecting other people and their things is just a basic.


  1. 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. – Arg! This one hits close to home for me. I know grown men who can’t pick up their underwear off the floor to this day and they have children of their own now! You should teach a child to take responsibility for his things and his choices so he can rely less on other to do it for him. Either that or you will have to pick up after him the rest of his life.


  1. 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. –What goes in does come out, that is why you should be careful about what your child is exposed to. While you don’t have to go overboard and outlaw television, you should still supervise and make sure your four year old isn’t watching South Park. Only allow your children to be exposed to the behaviors you want them to imitate because as they watch they also learn. 


  1. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your child. Then he will not be shocked if the home is broken up later. –I know that every couple has problems but exposing your children to the fights between you and your spouse makes them feel unstable and afraid. You can explain to your child that everyone has disagreements, but try to resolve them in a calm way, especially when your child is watching. Conflict resolution is an important part of growing up, so show them how to argue politely and with respect. 


  1. 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?– There is a difference between an allowance and just throwing money at your kids. Time with them is much more valuable than money. Kids who get all the money they want are not happy and frequently that money goes to alcohol or drugs. Teach your children the importance and value of money by having them earn it. They will appreciate what they can buy with their own money that much more and will grow up to be responsible citizens. 


  1. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.–The obesity epidemic cannot solely be blamed on fast food. It is also an issue with parents giving their children whatever they want. There are few kids who will desire to eat fruits and veggies, but those are essential for healthy growth and maintenance. Another issue that parents often overlook is comfort. There will be times in life where you are too hot, too cold, tired, bored or so on. Teach your kids how to handle it rather than fix the issue for them and they will be able to function better in those situations as adults. 


  1. Take his part against policemen, teachers, and neighbors. They are all prejudiced against your child. – Your child is not always right. I know there are many cases where rules are unfair or misunderstood, however you should teach your child to respect authority even when it seems stupid. As long as it is not dangerous or unhealthy, your child should obey even rules they don’t understand. By teaching your child respect and obedience they will be able to respect their boss and police as adults, which means they will be able to hold a job and stay out of trouble. 


  1. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him.”–Don’t make excuses, make changes. Every child can be taught and worked with; it is just a matter of how much effort you are willing to put in. When children act out and are difficult it usually means that they either need more structure or a different environment. Learn what your child needs to learn and grow and you will both be better off. The younger you start the better, but it is never too late to form a strong relationship with your child. 


  1. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to have it. –A child that is out of control makes your heart hurt. You know they are only hurting themselves and you want to help them, but as they grow older they are out of your hands. Do not let the police or other authorities have to discipline your child because you did not do it yourself. Start out from the very beginning with strong boundaries and loving discipline and your child will grow up to lead a happy and successful life. 


It is strange to me that since the fifties nothing has really changed. I guess it is true that nothing is new under the sun. Raising children is not easy, but if you decide to have kids then you should take the responsibility for them. Remember that your goal is to have them grow up to be happy, healthy and responsible adults. 


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About the Author:

Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail rest you know.