Dear Ann Landers: My mother passed away a month ago, and I found this column of yours in her box of “special things.” I hope you will print it again. A lot of parents should see it. -Charlotte in Mountain, Wis.
Dear Charlotte: Thanks for asking. This essay was originally prepared by the police department of Houston and appeared in my column back in 1959. It received a great deal of positive comment then, and I am pleased to run it again. Here it is:
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 every 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.
Dear Ann Landers: I recently read the parrot story in your column and thought it was mediocre. Here’s a better one:
A mother bought a talking parrot as a gift for her son’s 50th birthday. She spent $500 for the bird because he could speak five languages.
When she saw her son the next day, she asked, “How did you like the bird?” Her son said, “He was delicious.”
Mother said, “Oh, my heavens! Don’t tell me you ate the bird. Did you know he could speak five languages!?”
The man replied, “If he could speak five languages, why didn’t he say something?” -L.P. in Washington, D.C.
Dear L.P.: Thanks for the story. It’s a hoot.
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