Sixty Ways to Fail Your Child

I’m going out on a limb today with a message that’s been resonating with me for a few days now that I’m compelled to share. We often read about what parents need to do to make their children successful. Getting good grades in school and being involved in sports or other activities that they love are only two of the many ways that we can set our children up to lead fruitful and productive lives.  I’m here to tell you how to do the opposite.

Listed below are some guaranteed tips to set your child up for failure in life. You don’t have to do every tip, but if you’re even doing some of them, you’re on the right track. Clearly this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek and more than likely you would never do any of these but it does give us pause to think about when these actions might sneak into our busy lives.

We live in a world that has gotten used to compromising. These compromises when looked at holistically can be dangerous examples to our children who are looking to us to learn right from wrong. Continued deviation from clear examples of doing the right thing leads our children into confusion about who they are, what they stand for, and what is ultimately in their best interest.

I would like to encourage you to be honest with yourself as you read through this list. Are there areas in which you are not exactly following the straight and narrow? Remember, your kids are watching and learning from you.

distracted driving

1. If you want to teach your child to steal, then do not pay for the samples you took from the salad bar in the grocery store.

2. If you want to teach your child how to cheat, then get different members of your family to use coupons that implicitly say “one per family.”

3. If you would like to teach your child to be unkind, yell at the customer service rep or grocery clerk when they explain that the item you chose is not the one that’s on sale.

4. If you’d like to teach your child to be stingy, give only your loose change to those collecting for a worthy cause.

5. If you’d like to teach your child that he has to be perfect in order to be accepted or loved, find fault in everything he does.

6. If you’d like to teach your child never to ask for help, do everything yourself.

7. If you’d like to teach your child guilt, then make them feel badly about not helping you.

8. If you’d like to teach your child fear, never try anything new.

9. If you’d like to teach your child to be mean, bully him or her into doing their chores, homework, etc.

10. If you’d like to teach your child to doubt themselves, do everything for them so they can’t make a decision without consulting you first.

11. If you’d like to teach your child a lack of respect for people in authority, insult their teachers or coaches.

12. If you’d like to teach your child to have no respect for their bodies, force them to kiss and hug relatives or friends when they clearly don’t want to.

13. If you’d like to teach your child to be ungrateful, do not send thank you notes to people who give them gifts.

14. If you’d like to teach your child to have no compassion, do not offer to help a sick friend or overwhelmed single mother.

15. If you’d like to teach your child that fighting is the only way to get what you want, scream louder than your spouse/partner/sibling when you disagree.

16. If you’d like to teach your child that they are not important, bring your iPhone to the dinner table.

17. If you’d like to teach your child to be vengeful, teach them to hit someone back when they are hit or to call them a worse name than they were called.

18. If you’d like to teach your child to not appreciate nature, don’t correct them when they throw their trash on the ground.

19. If you’d like to teach your child impatience, give them what they want the minute they ask for it.

20. If you’d like to teach your child to be judgmental, criticize other people and things.

21. If you’d like to teach your child to make fun of others, say things like “old man”, “fat kid”, “ugly dog”.

22. If you’d like to teach your child not to do their best, cut corners or take the easy way out.

23. If you’d like to teach your child not to have pride in what they do, accept “good enough”.

24. If you’d like to teach your child not to be responsible, don’t give them chores to do or make them get a job (age appropriate).

25. If you’d like to teach your child lack of self-discipline, don’t correct them when needed.

26. If you’d like to teach your child that playing by themselves is boring, keep them continuously busy.

27. If you’d like to teach your child self-doubt, never give them praise.

28. If you’d like to teach your child that only their looks matter, tell them how pretty or handsome they are all the time.

29. If you’d like to teach your child to talk behind other people’s back, gossip about friends and family in front of them.

30. If you’d like to teach your child how to love conditionally, only love people who do things for you.

31. If you’d like to teach your child to be inconsistent, say one thing, and then do another.

32. If you’d like to teach your child to be impolite, don’t show them how to properly greet someone for the first time.

33. If you’d like to teach your child to ignore their desires and dreams, force yours on them.

34. If you’d like to teach your child not to trust, go back on your word and break your promises.

35. If you’d like to teach your child how to not communicate to resolve conflict, give them the silent treatment.

36. If you’d like to teach your child they are worthless,  put everything else in your life ahead of them.

37. If you’d like to teach your child not to appreciate beauty, ignore sunsets or gardens or the roar of the ocean.

38. If you’d like to teach your child to be intolerant, point out other’s differences as unacceptable.

39. If you’d like to teach your sons to never grow up, don’t teach them what it means to be a real man.

40. If you’d like to teach your daughters to be overwhelmed and stressed when they become a parent, be a SuperMom.

41. If you’d like to teach your child that taking care of their bodies is not important, order a diet soda for yourself but milk for them.

42. If you’d like to teach your child to be selfish, be self-centered.

43. If you’d like to teach your child to think he is better than someone else, leave hotel rooms a mess because that’s the “cleaning lady’s job.”

44. If you’d like to teach your child not to value money or abundance, throw away your pennies.

45. If you’d like to teach your child to feel entitled, give them everything they want without having to work for it.

46. If you’d like to teach your child to follow the pack, don’t ever think outside the box to solve a problem.

47. If you’d like to teach your child that family is not important, allow discord among their siblings.

48. If you’d like to teach your child not to have faith, don’t teach them about God or whomever you follow.

49. If you’d like to teach your son to mistreat women, allow him to talk back, curse, or disrespect you.

50. If you’d like to teach your child to be irresponsible, feed the pet THEY wanted.

51. If you’d like to teach your child to give up, let them quit their sports team when they don’t “feel” like playing anymore.

52. If you’d like to teach your child that poor/homeless people are ‘less than’, then only donate your broken or dirty items.

53. If you’d like to teach your child that having fun is bad, work 24/7.

54. If you’d like to teach your child that their education is not important, don’t get involved in their learning or meet their teachers.

55. If you’d like to teach your child to be lazy, permit non-stop TV watching or video-game playing.

56. If you’d like to teach your child to drink and drive, do the same.

57. If you’d like to teach your child that texting while driving is safe, do the same.

58. If you’d like to teach your child it’s ok to treat others poorly because they’re having a bad day, yell at the bank teller.

59. If you’d like to teach your child how to not stand up for themselves, crumble when you are confronted.

60. If you’d like to teach your child to never be able to express love, never hug them or tell them you love them.

Jen’s Gem:  Children learn by what they see you DO, not what you SAY. Actions speak louder than words.

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2011-2024