Parenting Rule Book

Have you ever noticed that there is only ONE owner’s manual included in a box or package? It often comes in multiple languages and usually has a troubleshooting section at the end. Basically, the manual is an explicit list of instructions on how to build and/or operate an item.

Living things do not generally have a one-way approach. Think of plants, animals, and people. Plants have recommended instructions on how to keep it alive, but even then, people share opinions on the method of replanting, the best soil, sun placement, season to plant, and watering schedule.

What about raising animals? Depending on the type of pet and/or owner, animals may live inside the house, outside the house, caged, in a designated area, or able to roam freely throughout the property. Some are allowed are couches, beds, and counter tops, whereas, others are strictly banned from those places. Which approach is best?

What about raising children? I do not remember getting a manual when my ex-husband and I brought our son home from the hospital. That’s because mothers and fathers quickly learn that parenting is not a one-size-fits-all model. Just look at the large selection of parenting-style books published over the years. Each author has a strong opinion about which approach works best.

When my son was young, I came across the following set of “rules;” and I have had them on my refrigerator ever since. Through the child rearing years, I found them to be a quick reminder of what not to do. Even though, I may not agree with all of them, I do agree with most. In my research, I learned that it was originated in 1959, which would explain some of the wording. However, the main idea is still very relevant today.

I created this blog to promote self-reflection, raise awareness, and encourage discussion. With that objective in mind, read the list below and decide for yourself if you agree with any of the rules.


  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.
  1. 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.
  1. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait ‘til he’s 21 and then let him decide for himself.
  1. Avoid use of the word “wrong.” It may develop in the child “a guilt complex.” This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car or assaulting women, that society is “against him” and he is being persecuted.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your child. In this way, he won’t be too shocked when the home breaks up later.
  1. Give a child all the money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
  1. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
  1. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
  1. When he gets into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him.”
  1. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to have it.

In my lifetime, I have seen some of these “rules” in action and the predicted results. I have also seen where two parents have raised all of their children the same way, yet one child veers off the family course of what’s acceptable, whether short or long-term. Unforeseen influences, like drugs or alcohol, generally affect these families. Add the dynamic of divorce and subsequent blended families nowadays and you will see multiple parenting styles factor into the child rearing.

This raises the question: Are there basic guidelines to follow? I may have my opinions, but let’s face it; parenting involves on-the-job training for each child. Every parent is trying to do the best they can with what they know from their own childhood, what they are learning along the way, and using any wisdom they have gathered from other respected parents.

I encourage you to have a discussion about the “Twelve Rules For Raising Delinquent Children” and determine what you would keep, modify or add. What are your basic rules for raising a successful child?


Photos courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock

Photos courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock

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