How to Raise a Juvenile Delinquent

from the Houston Police Department

This handout gets a lot of reactions from people. It was written by policemen, not psychologists or psychiatrists. It appears to have been written in 1959. I like it because it addresses the "Number One Problem" facing families in the Metro Atlanta area: The reluctance of parents to be firmly in charge of their children.

1. Give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up believing 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’s 21 and let him decide for himself.

4. Pick up everything he leaves lying around – books, shoes, clothing. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility to others.

5. Avoid the use of the word "wrong." He 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.

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 feed 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 a child all the spending money he wants.

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 side 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.

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