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Top Ten Ways to Ruin Your Kids for Life

Genre: Parenting


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July 3, 2012

Top Ten Ways to Ruin Your Kids for Life

There are all types of lists for parents. If you want a list to ruin your kids forever, here’s a list for you.

1. Give your kid everything he wants.
Don’t deny what will truly make him happy. Overvalue money and things in his eyes.

2. Dress your child in designer clothes, no matter the cost.
Show her that her outward appearance matters most of all.

3. Place your child’s needs over that of your spouse’s. If he cries, run to him immediately. If he interrupts, give him your full attention.

4. Entertain your child throughout the day. If she wants to play tea, put your plans aside. If she wants to watch her favorite movie for the 100th time, forget your idea for going for a walk and getting some sunshine.

5. Plan your menu around your child’s desires. No child should have to eat something he doesn’t like. If, by chance, you want to make something other than macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly, feel free to cook your own meal, just as long as you have time to fix what your child likes.

6. Sign your child up for as many extracurricular activities as she desires, even if it means giving up your evening plans on a regular basis. Don’t worry about trying to gather around the dinner table either. He can only be in the Junior Soccer League for so long, and you don’t want him to miss out.

7. Don’t discipline your child when she acts up. Everyone should learn to express herself in her own way. If she demands something, then applaud her efforts. At least you know that she will not be a pushover or a doormat in this world.

8. Don’t worry when your child fights with neighbor kids or even when he is a bully. Life is not fair and someone always has to be the underdog. At least your child is learning to elbow his way to the top at a young age.

9. When your child has a disagreement with her teacher, always choose your child’s side.
Don’t show up when the teacher wants to discuss your child’s problems. The teacher will want to take a course of disciplinary action and that’ll hurt your child’s feelings.

10. Don’t share your faith with your child. After all, you don’t want to offend. Give your child the option if she wants to hear Bible stories and don’t pressure her to memorize Scripture verses. She might get disheartened if she doesn’t get it right the first time and you’ll ruin her self-esteem. More than that, you don’t want her to know there’s a God who runs the universe, makes the rules, and determines eternity. The thought is too hard and your child might not understand. More than that, she won’t be self-dependent and strive to be a good person.

Do you see your parenting shine in any of these areas?
Congratulations! You’re on your way to succeeding at your goal. Keep up the good work and you’ll have a very happy child … and just take a moment to consider what type of an adult your child will grow up to be–one that will stand out about the crowd, without a doubt!


Originally posted at triciagoyer.comPin It

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About Author

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a homeschooling mom of four and an acclaimed and prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in national magazines. She has also written books on marriage and parenting and contributed notes to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia’s written numerous novels inspired by World War II veterans, including her newest release Remembering You and Chasing Mona Lisa. Tricia lives with her husband and four children in Arkansas. You can find out more information about Tricia at

(33) Comments

  1. Frolicking Flamingo
    July 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I would also add: let the village raise your child.

  2. Jody
    July 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

    While I agree with most of your points I have to disagree somewhat (not entirely) with number 10. I don't think children have to memorize scripture (after all the Pharisees knew scriptures well!) I do read the Bible to my children daily but I don't require them to learn scriptures though I am sure they do since we read it everyday. I want them to experience the whole Word and its meaning not just bit and pieces. Love your list!!!! :)

    • Jody
      July 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

      Oops meant Scripture verses :P

    • Grace
      July 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

      You can't be serious. Like seriously you can't. We remember scriptures as children. That is the best thing you can do is to teach your child to know and honor God's Word. Not just fill them up with cool stories.

  3. Stephanie
    July 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Awesome right up---I agree with you 100%. Both of my children are very happy and have good attitudes MOST of the time! Scripture is of great importance to us for our children to memorize, so they can not only meditate on it, but also when they are tempted to do something wrong it is the scripture they remember!! Thank God for that!!!!!!! Makes my job a smidge easier!

  4. Ginger
    July 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Excellent. Even as Christian parents, we can fall into the trap of humanistic thinking, valuing the temporal over the eternal. As I was reading, Scripture came to my mind that refutes these points for a Christ following home. Thankful for the Word hid in my heart. Only through knowing the Truth of God's Word can we avoid the pitfalls of this world system.

  5. Emma
    July 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I found this on Pinterest, so maybe I'm out of my league here, but really?! If your kid doesn't memorize the Bible and learn about a parent's choice of god or gods, they won't be self-dependent and strive to be a good person? Religion does not make morality. Nor does it make independence. In fact, having grown up in a highly religious family, I know that religion does nothing but encourage dependence... on god, one's parents, men, religious leaders... not the opposite. I'm betting your views will differ, and that's fine, but please do not make the mistake of thinking that people who shun religion are any less moral or independent than those who embrace it. I do not need a patriarchal god in order to know right from wrong. Aside from that, pretty decent list.

    • Ginger
      July 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Emma, Just to give my perspective as a parent, I do not advocate memorizing the Bible to make our son a good person, to be religious, or to be moral. Ever received a letter from someone (before the days of texts and emails, I guess) who you really cared about but hadn't seen in a while? I remember rereading my husband's letters from boot camp, deployments until they were worn through. I could practically recite portions of those letters. I cared what he had to say to me. I missed him. In that same vein, I want to hear from God. I want to know what He has to say to me each day. I want our son to have a personal and dependent relationship with his Father. Scripture and prayer are our means of hearing from and talking to God.

      • Jody
        July 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

        Exactly! You put it in better words than I could :).....This is part of why I don't make my children memorize scripture because I want them to fall in Love with God like I have and not just remember words but the emotions behind those words. If they memorize it that is great but I want them to experience God's Word not just be able to recite.

  6. Patricia
    July 3, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I believe there is wisdom in having children memorize scripture. I have six children and we began teaching my oldest single verses when he was a toddler because that's all I thought he was capable of memorizing. As he grew and his siblings came along we challenged him to learn chapters, never expecting his siblings to be absorbing as much as he was, but we were amazed when we heard them all reciting verse after verse in unison. Now we regularly memorize chapters together and sometimes recite them in church. It seems to really encourage the older members there that another generation is being taught the Bible. Our youngest child is three and although he has delayed speech issues he can recite most of the chapter we are currently learning without much help! Hearing him recite is helping me understand the way he pronounces words and in a sense I am learning his language at the same time. Huge blessing for us!

  7. Chari
    July 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Sorry - writing from a sarcastic perspective makes you sound like a snotty, know-it-all and not someone I want to take advice from at all. Buying toys when a child wants one or wearing designer clothes does not remove a child's ability to learn the proper value of money or of Kingdom values. Those are up to a family to instill. My son has many things, but is neither greedy nor bratty. Many people tell me he's the sweetest kid they've ever met. I attend to his needs, sometimes over his father's, especially when he was very young, because small children don't understand having their needs neglected. They just feel neglected. An adult can understand it and put their own needs aside for the sake of the child. My son is in a lot of extracurricular activities. They don't interfere with family life, they enhance it. As he becomes a better musician, artists, scientist, and athlete - we have much more to talk about as a family. It add cohesion. As for cooking a second meal as children adapt and grow their palate? I don't have a problem with that either. Honestly, how long does it take to make scrambled eggs? Two minutes? And scripture memorization? Hmm.I wouldn't have them memorizing the rules - I'd have them memorizing about the beauty and majesty of God. How awesome and loving he is. I don't want my child going around whacking others with the Word, telling them what they are and aren't doing right. I'd prefer to emphasis prayer at a young age, so they learn to talk to God and see that he answers. Honestly, there were only two or three things on your list I found valuable. And, before you try writing another list like this to teach all of us bad parents what we're doing wrong - I suggest you lose the snotty attitude!

    • Jenny Herman
      July 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Hi, Chari. I can understand what you're saying about being sarcastic. I just wanted to hop in and let you know that this post is actually off the norm for Tricia. She's actually a very down to earth, I'm-in-the-trenches-too kind of lady. You may want to visit her blog (linked at the end of this post) or check out this other post of hers that's on our blog:

      • Chari
        July 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm

        @Jenny - thanks for the link. That was a much better article - More honest, less know-it-all.

  8. Sherri
    July 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I agree 100% with this list. As for the last one, I didn't memorize scripture growing up but now I sure wish someone would have encouraged me to do so. Now I'm doing it right along with my children. Thank you for sharing this.

  9. Lisa Walters (@CreativLEI)
    July 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I appreciate the tongue-in-cheek look at the pitfalls that could undermine what we are really trying to accomplish while raising our children. There will always be a knee-jerk reaction by some as you hit a nerve. It's a list I'll share!

    • Chari
      July 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      lol. My reaction wasn't a knee-jerk, nor did it "hit a nerve". Some of those comments were just too much "opinion" wrapped up to look like "truth". It came across as someone who doesn't have any money, telling the Christian families that do have a little bit of money that they shouldn't be spending it the way they are (ie: on toys, clothes, activities for their kids). Why is it someone else's responsibility to define for me how much is the proper amount of anything for me to give my child? Bottom line: it's not!

      • Lisa Walters (@CreativLEI)
        July 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

        See I had a different view than you. I did not see an attack on class, just a reminder that the ability to provide much doesn't necessitate doing so. Moderation is warranted. My family is neither struggling financially nor are we very well-off. We are adequate. Just because we have extra does not mean we should use it to lavish 'things' on our children, we hope to instead provide experiences and memories for them that shape their futures. I also didn't take it as the author pointing her finger at me, just offering a list to check against. I appreciated the reminders. The world says one thing, our family goals are different.

      • Daryl
        July 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm

        Hey Chari, I know that the article comes off kind of "high and mighty-like" but, we've all seen the parents who DON'T do things in moderation or discipline their children. We have seen their children in the stores having temper tantrums and hitting their parents when they don't get their way. I think THOSE are the people this article targets. The parents who seem to take the "you don't know me" attitude a bit far. I don't judge these parents because I have that huge plank in my own eye to remove but, I don't feel like the world should have to deal with them as whiny, things above people, mean-spirited adults. By the sounds of things, you've done a great job raising your children because you BALANCE things. I don't see anything wrong with allowing my child to make himself/herself a peanut butter sandwich if they don't like what's for dinner either. I DO, on occasion, buy them clothes from the mall....more the teenager than the 12 year old. He's just not into name brands yet! As for the bible, I do believe it's important that they read it. I don't think my children have it memorized....few Christian adults do. They may have parts of it but never all. As long as my child reads it, understands what they've read and can apply those teachings...I'm ok with that. With gentle reminders from parents (what would God want you to do?) and some bible verses to back it up, I think that is enough. IMO we cannot remove ourselves from teaching our kids about God by just making them memorize verses. We must be there to talk to them about God, use the bible to show them what paths they are to take using real world scenarios. They may understand what they read but, they don't have the real world life experience to always make the best decisions...even with scripture memorized.

  10. Jessica Williams
    July 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks, Tricia! Reading through the comments I can see that this is something that is probably touching some buttons for some people...otherwise they probably wouldn't be commenting. :) Our world is made up of quite a variety of people. Knowing where this viewpoint is coming from, meeting Tricia and reading most of her books, the fact that this was how I grew up (being poor helped with not having those designed clothes) we were always reminded that Christ was providing for us. I think this article is not only hilarious, not snotty as was previously mentioned, but also a good reminder to everyone on figuring out what the priorities are in our lives as we are raising kids. Seeing a variety of kids and different family structures in my work...I don't have to tell you that some things are becoming more of a priority in households than others. For those that are debating some of these topics I strongly suggest you talking with your kids' teachers, principals, day care providers and authority figures outside of coaches. Ask how kids have changed in those settings in the last 5 to 10 years. I think you may be surprised at the result of what is happening in our society as we give in to kids' demands and wants rather than teach them other values and priorities in life. I think it would also be interesting to see a cost analysis of what families are spending today on extracurricular activities for their kids and the additional costs as a result of those. In our area traveling sports with elementary kids is pretty much expected if you want your child to even think about participating in junior high and high school sports. With that includes costs of hotels many weekends during the season, gas, food costs, etc. It also takes away from the importance of school. Where does America stand right now in regards to the education of our kids related to those in other countries? Hmm. Families I know actually are being told that their kids need to be in summer school right now but their choice was to keep their child in the sport that they like because "they don't want to ruin their childs summer". Let's just not worry about their future, their summer is much more important right now. It is hard to know what the real definition of "family" is if you are looking at how American society is today. In the end, all of our kids have to learn how to work together not only as they are young but as they are in school and then in the working world later in their lives. No matter how our kids are raised we do need to be sure that they know how to get along with others, state their opinions and also not get upset at others for stating theirs. Working together, sharing with each other...that is how we all learn. Thank you for sharing, Tricia!

    • Chari
      July 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      @Jessica - since I have the only dissenting viewpoint on this article, I'm going to assume your comments are directed at me. From your comments, you've assumed my child is laboring away in a brick and mortar, public school - and he's not. I don't need a lecture on how the school system or society has changed. I'm well educated. And it's ok for me to have a dissenting view on the article, without you or anyone else feeling they have to defend the author.

      • Jenny Herman
        July 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm

        Emma had a dissenting viewpoint as well. ;)

      • Lisa Walters (@CreativLEI)
        July 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

        You weren't the only dissenting voice. Differing opinions are good, that's what sparks interesting discussion and lends to iron sharpening iron.

      • Jessica Williams
        July 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm

        @Chari, my comments weren't directed towards anyone at all. Sorry if you took it that way. I am not assuming anything and was just making statements from what I see in society today. I run a day care, we have lots of family that are teachers and these are just the statements that we are making as a whole from how kids have changed regardless of public or private schools. I have never been part of homeschooling so I don't have info on the behavior of kids from that aspect. I never said you were uneducated either or that your child was in a public school. In fact, I didn't say anything about you or your child. If you don't like this post I am glad to hear your opinion but I just wanted to share mine as well. I'm not getting mad at your post and hopefully you don't get upset by what others are saying either. I appreciate it when others just read what I have to say and we can learn from the different experiences. As I stated above..."No matter how our kids are raised we do need to be sure that they know how to get along with others, state their opinions and also not get upset at others for stating theirs. Working together, sharing with each other…that is how we all learn."

      • Lori
        August 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

        As a Christian, AND A PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER, I am extremely offended by those that homeschool and express their discontent with public education. Many people go through the public school system and turn out to be outstanding citizens. You cannot fully understand the public school system unless you have been in the trenches. There are flaws, yes, but you wouldn't want to live in a world without it.

    • Melissa
      July 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      I couldn't agree with you more on how children act today. I work in a daycare and the amount of parents that let their children "rule the roost" is unbelievable. They get what they want, when they want it. They are never told no. They can act anyway they want, without receiving any type of discipline. Then when they come to daycare, they are the children who have a melt down when you tell them, "No." They are the ones who refuse to help their friends pick up the toys at clean-up time. They are the ones who feel like they are entitiled to the favorite toy every day and then throw a tantrum when they have to share. I love these kids, but they are the difficult ones to work with. They make my job a lot harder and stressful. I loved the article, though. I do disagree with one thing. I don't think we should have to entertain our children all day, but if my daughter comes up and asks me to have a tea party with her, it would be awful hard to refuse that! We have to remember that one day, they will grow up and be out of the house and we will look back and wish we would have taken more time to play with them. I don't remember my mom ever sitting down and playing with me, and I wish I had those memories.

  11. Carol Anne
    July 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Gracious! Rarely have I seen such a vigorous discussion triggered by a homeschooling mom! Perhaps this example goes to show how social media fails when it comes to the apt communication of inflection, body language, etc.? Had Tricia communicated these ideas via a vlog, perhaps her tone would have seemed a bit less strident and a little more tongue in cheek as she probably intended? :-) In our home, we cover a lot of Bible but memorize only occasional scriptures when they speak to troubling issues my sons might be facing. When they were young, It was as simple as the verse that says, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you." That verse soothed a fretful heart and brought sleep's relief. Lately, my youngest son, now a teen, has sought out and memorized verses on his own. Most notably of late the verse that speaks to the common temptation of man and God's faithfulness to make a way out for us. We live in a fearsome world, so it is comforting to me to see my sons experience Scriptural truth as a pivotal foundation for life. I do fear that most of our children, even homeschoolers who have tighter budgets than some, are raising children who struggle with entitlement. Altho' we experienced 20 months of homelessness and live a spartan life compared to some, I am aware that my boys don't appreciate 'things' like I did at their age. I am sure that the mindset is fostered by how rapidly technology becomes outdated and obsolete if nothing else! How many Iphones have been released in how few years? Having experienced bullying directed toward my Aspie son, I am particularly sensitive to #8. Not only did the mom involved fail to rein in her son, when I tried to talk to her, she bullied me! Her adjacent neighbors told me that they used a particular epitaph when referring to her behind her back because of her unrestrained, bullying attitudes. I fear that we, as a socieity, show fewer and fewer social graces toward each other. My sons tell me that there are folks called 'trolls' who do nothing but comb social media to see where/what snarky, rude comments they can post just for the joy of being mean. No matter what our philosophical or religious persuasions, I pray that we all set an example for our children of dealing with one another via measured responses seasoned with grace! If we don't teach them to forbear with others, who will? May we all find grace to encourage each other as we seek to raise strong and courageous kids!

  12. Chari
    July 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    The tone of the article is my biggest objection. Does she have valued points to make in the article? Certainly. Was sarcasm the best vehicle for this article? No, I don't think so. The subject matter would have been better served in a straight-forward tone. It's hard to take advice seriously when it's written in such a snotty tone, which I have been assured several times over by all of you, was not the author's intent. She has fierce defenders. Good for her. However, I'd like the author to reflect on how she came across in this article - whether any of you agree with that or not. I think she could benefit as a writer by reflecting on both the title she selected for the article and the tone. She came out strong, trying to rock someones boat. Since she made that choice, I have to assume that she is a strong enough person to handle criticism. She had to know her choices in writing this article were sure to bring them. So, stop coddling her and let her respond for herself.

    • Chari
      July 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      *valid points

    • Melissa
      July 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      I felt more like she was trying to make the article humorous by writing in this tone of voice, but this is just my opinion.

    • Ann
      July 4, 2012 at 12:15 am

      The pot calling the kettle black? Who is sounding snotty? Chari, good grief. lighten up!!!

      • Christina Karnes
        July 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        Thank you!! Geez, if you don't like the article then fine, move on. People are not going to agree with you. I don't agree with you. But really, who cares!! It's your life, run it how you see fit. Don't get bent out of shape because people you don't even know in the internet world disagree with you.

  13. Tricia Goyer
    July 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I'm away from the computer for the day and WOW! There is a lot of response to this post... I have to say that I wrote it tongue-in-cheek and I meant to be snarky. I'm sorry that some people took it as snobby. Maybe I should have added some :) here and there... My kids are 23, 20, 18 and 2 now. Even though we could afford them they didn't wear designer clothes. They only got to participate in one extracurricular activity a year, and we gave our time and efforts into sharing what a personal relationship with Jesus is all about. It is hard to fight against a society that believes we need to give our kids everything. I mean I love Pottery Barn and Toys R Us and my natural tendency is to want to have my house perfect, my kids lookin' good, and for everyone to notice, but I've seen that focusing away from those desires have paid off. When they were younger, I wanted my kids to become adults who would serve others, to give more than they acquired, and to seek God's kingdom first...and they are doing that! My 23-year-old son is married to an awesome young women. They love God and are serving in children's church together in Montana. (We live in Arkansas.) They also have a honeymoon baby who they are raising to love God, too. My 20-year-old daughter is currently serving on a short-term mission trip overseas. She lives on her own in a foreign country, teaches English, and loves on people more than anyone I know. She's a people magnet and just glows with joy. (She also shops from the clearance rack and saves more than spends.) When she graduates from college next spring she hopes to go into full time mission work. My 18-year-old son serves with my husband in children's church and is out "security guard" for the teen moms support group I lead. (Our church is in a dangerous inner-city area.) He is a kind, caring kid who makes my very proud. Now with a two-year-old it would be easy to spoil her. We have the means to do so, but she wears hand me down clothes from friends and is happy with that. There is nothing wrong with designer clothes, but what is the motive behind them? And what could we be doing with that money instead? This is something I want to teach my daughter as she grows. In fact, just two days ago I learned of another 2-year-old who needed summer things so Alyssa and I went through her dresser and picked out items to share. Alyssa got so into it that I was afraid she was going to give everything away! Yes, I was being snarky as I wrote this, but I don't write anything that I don't live. Also I can write about these things because I understand the struggle. They hit home to my heart, too. Most of all, I want to continue to work to make sure what's inside my kids' heart gets the most attention. I'm not perfect from a mom (far from it!)'s a daily learning and growing process for me, too. Tricia

    • Jennifer Slattery
      July 4, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      This comment made by Tricia was awesome, and one we should all really chew on: "We have the means to do so, but she wears hand me down clothes from friends and is happy with that. There is nothing wrong with designer clothes, but what is the motive behind them? **And what could we be doing with that money instead? This is something I want to teach my daughter as she grows.** (emphasis mine.) How many orphans could be fed with the money used on one pair of designer jeans? Each day we have a choice. Each choice we make trains our children and instills values. Ultimately, we must decide what our deepest values are. Tricia, it sounds like your greatest value is showing love and compassion and being others-focused. That's wonderful, and it's such a hard lesson to learn/trait to instill.

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