12 Rules for Rasing Delinquent Children

You probably haven’t been to the very bottom of my blog page, but that’s where the following disclaimer resides.

Disclaimer:  The postings on this site are my own and do not represent Sublette County School District 1’s positions, strategies, opinions, or policies.

I find it necessary to mention this as I occasionally run across information that has a tangential relationship to education.  Such is the case with the this post.  I thought it would be a timely follow-up to my previous repost of the CNN article “What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents.”  While serving as a principal, I had the following information prominently displayed in my office as most of the disciplinary issues I dealt with could find their origins somewhere on this list.  And more times than you would think, I would have parents throw their hands up and state they were at a loss as to how to deal with their child.  That’s when I would reach for a copy of this flyer.  It might need a little updating to reflect current technology, but from my perspective it has certainly retained its relevancy. It has been attributed to the Houston Police Department who reportedly had it published in a local newspaper as early as 1959 and distributed it within the community.  And officially, this is just something I personally like.


  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.  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 until he is 21, and then let him “decide for himself.”
  4. Avoid the 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, clothes.  Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on 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 don’t worry about his mind feasting on garbage.
  7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children.  In this way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.
  8. Give the child all the spending money he wants.  Never let him earn his.  Why should he have things as tough as you did?
  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 neighbors, teachers, policemen.  They are all prejudiced against your child.
  11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him!”
  12. Prepare yourself for a life of grief.  You’ll surely have it.

Generally speaking our student behavior this year has been terrific, so this is not in response to anything specific.  It’s just something that I try to read every once in a while as both a parent and educator, and in this case something I decided to share.

About Jay Harnack

Superintendent of Sublette County School District #1
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1 Response to 12 Rules for Rasing Delinquent Children

  1. Rollie Myers says:

    Another very good posting, Jay.

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