This tongue-in-cheek piece is adapted from an old facsimile I found in a parenting workbook I put together from my years spent working in case management, social work, and Intensive-In Home Services, often with adolescents in the juvenile justice system. I don't know who the original author is but I know it's old. I made a few changes to reflect present issues, but it still rings true!
How To Raise a Criminal
1. From the time your child is born, give him everything he wants. Make sure he thinks the world owes him something for being alive.
2. Just "let it go" when he hurts you or others. It can also be helpful to laugh and make him think it's cute.
3. Never give her any spiritual or moral guidance. Let her decide all that on her own.
4. Avoid using the word "wrong." It may give your child a guilt complex. Later on, when she's been arrested, she will believe everyone is against her and out to get her.
5. Always pick up after him and keep up with all his belongings. He doesn't need to learn responsibility or respect for property.
6. Take your child's side against every teacher, friend, adult, police officer, relative. Make excuses for everything he does. Let him know they are all prejudiced against him, and that he hasn't done anything wrong.
7. Argue in front of your child so she won't be surprised if your marriage falls apart.
8. Never allow your child to earn his own money or gain privileges by working for it. Just fork over whatever he wants without him having to practice good behavior.
9. Don't set boundaries. Let her eat and drink whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. It's much easier to let her do everything she wants to do anyway.
10. Let him watch violent and/or scary movies. Don't monitor what he does on the internet or watches on TV.
11. Don't set limits on screen time. There is no need to encourage reading, completing school work, or spending time outside.
12. Prepare yourself for a life of grief. But you can always comfort yourself by knowing you did the best you could!
Chantal D. Hayes, MA, LCMHC
Chantal D. Hayes