Parenting Advice from the Past

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

This week I was given a notebook that belonged to my mother. It holds a collection of poems, sayings, messages, her lesson notes, and interesting pieces. These are two of those. I don’t necessarily hold that all of these are just how I would look at things, but I find it interesting. My mother died in 1973, so keep that in mind as you read through this first piece. I’m afraid too many parents are following the first one, and too few the second.


Twelve Rules For Raising Delinquent Children

  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, and 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 silver-ware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast 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. 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 likely to have it.

(Issued by the Police Department, Houston, Texas—sometime before 1973.)



Susannah Wesley’s Rules for Parents

This famous mother (20 January 1669 – 23 July 1742), of nineteen including John and Charles Wesley set down these rules.


  1. Allow no eating between meals.
  2. Put all children to bed by eight o’clock.
  3. Require them to take medicine without complaining.
  4. Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul.
  5. Teach each one to pray as soon as he can speak.
  6. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that which they ask for politely.
  7. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.
  8. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
  9. Never punish a child twice for the same offense.
  10. Commend and reward good behavior.
  11. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
  12. Preserve property rights even in the smallest matters.
  13. Strictly observe all promises.
  14. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
  15. Teach children to fear the rod.