Bible Articles

Bible Articles

How To Ruin a Child

I suspect that few parents are actually seeking instructions on how to ruin a child. I have searched the self-help sections of various bookstores for advice on ruining children, but to no avail (at least no authors who will own up to the consequences of their advice!). Strangely enough, we parents generally want our children to succeed, not be ruined. It is ironic that many parents are unwittingly doing an excellent job of ruining their children without any special guidance. Just naturally gifted, I guess.

However, in the event that any parent feels that his child still has a fighting chance to grow into a normal, productive adult, the suggestions to follow should help eliminate any ray of misguided hope. I offer these rules, not as a parenting expert, but simply as an observer of plenty of ruined children and heartbroken parents. The only guarantee that I can offer is that you will not find these rules in the Bible – unless you twist what the Bible really teaches about parenting and morality.

Rule #1: Give your child whatever he wants. As soon as he is old enough to indicate his wishes, grant every one possible. Of course, the idea is that a child who gets what he wants is a contented child and only parents who always say "yes" are good parents (however, you may want to read Ecclesiates 5:10). As soon as he kicks and screams because he is not getting his own way, swiftly surrender to his desires to avoid further embarrassment or aggravation. Get used to it, however, because he will quickly learn how to control his parents. When he becomes a teenager, he’ll probably throw things around or wreck the family car if he doesn’t get what he wants, but by then you will probably be used to these temper tantrums and you can always buy new things. You will be creating a selfish monster who will be difficult for others to live with and who will constantly be dissatisfied because he never learned to be content with what he already has (read 1 Timothy 6:6-8), but you can proudly claim that you "never denied your child anything." It has been said, "Give a pig and a boy all they want and you will have a good pig and a bad boy." Amen.

Rule #2: Protect your child from the consequences of his actions. No matter how much he breaks the rules at home, school or in other settings, always use the excuse that "he’s only a child." That’s also a good way to guarantee that he will remain childish. I know that it can be embarrassing when you have to excuse or cover up the behavior of your child, but the only alternative is to teach him that his actions have consequences! If he learns that, the next thing you know, he will be thinking before acting and that smacks of responsibility and maturity. Who knows where THAT will end!