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A Proposal to Prevent Teenagers From Being A Burden to Their Parents or Their Country

Updated on January 19, 2013
A rare picture of a teenager reading (circa 1950)
A rare picture of a teenager reading (circa 1950)

It is disturbing to walk through the streets and neighborhoods of this country and see well-meaning parents trying so diligently and urgently to raise their children to be good citizens. Although these parents’ efforts are sincerely genuine and most likely based on how their parents raised them, I can sense their frustration because the old ways are obviously not working. I therefore offer this modest proposal, and I hope no one will be rash or thoughtless enough to offer any objections.

It’s really very simple: stop trying to be parents because it’s not worth the effort. Don’t you have better things to do like reading your e-mail, getting your nails done, updating your Facebook page, or ignoring your children? If you heed the following advice and give up trying to be parents, you’ll enjoy being a parent in this country so much more than you do now.

This misguided parent is actually reading a bedtime story to her children!
This misguided parent is actually reading a bedtime story to her children!

Don’t make your children get a good night’s sleep. Let them stay up all night and sleep all day. Don’t believe the hype that “Late to bed and late to rise makes a child unhealthy, un-wealthy, and unwise.” Studies have proven that children behave best between the hours of midnight and 6 AM. Let them enjoy their best hours of the day, and don’t worry if you don’t know where they are. Someone, the police perhaps, will find them for you.

This cruel mother is making her daughter help with the laundry!
This cruel mother is making her daughter help with the laundry!

Don't make your children brush their teeth, bathe, make their beds, do their laundry, fold their clothes, put away their clothes, or iron their clothes. It’s not that important to look good or take care of necessary things like teeth. You can always throw them away and buy new ones—especially teeth. Expensive cologne masks just about any smell these days, right? Invest in expensive cologne for your children. Don’t sweat it if they sweat.

This teenager's room is "clean."
This teenager's room is "clean."

Don't make your children clean up after themselves. That requires responsibility and industriousness, two qualities you can never allow them to have. If they litter, that’s okay. They’re keeping someone employed out there, and that will keep the unemployment rate down in this struggling economy. Don’t ever call their rooms “pig sties” or put “CONDEMNED” signs on their doors. Let them feel good about their filthiness.

These poor children have been obviously forced to eat with their parents.
These poor children have been obviously forced to eat with their parents.

Don't make your children learn how to cook or sit down to a meal with you. They don’t have the time, and neither do you if you really think about it. You don’t want to miss Entertainment Tonight and SportsCenter, your two favorite news shows. Let them eat whatever, whenever, and wherever they want—and as often as they want. Consider your kitchen just another drive-through. No one really benefits from family sit-down meals anyway because they’re so boring and unenlightening. Do you really care what your children are up to?

One doesn't have to know the true value of money to work here.
One doesn't have to know the true value of money to work here.

Don't make your children put things where they belong or return the things they borrow. Later in life, they’ll use this skill not to return books to the library or pay off loans. In fact, don’t make them earn money for any of the things they want. Give it to them. This way they’ll never learn the true value of money and end up in Congress.

This man is paid to be courteous.
This man is paid to be courteous.

Don't make your children practice good manners or say “please,” “thank you,” or “I’m sorry.” Spare them the uselessness of writing thank-you notes this holiday season. Never require them to open or hold doors for anyone. That’s what doormen are for, right? You didn’t raise a doorman. Never allow them to let anyone else go first in any line anywhere. Teach them the time-honored adage, “To be first is to be great.” Oh sure, there’s that ridiculous story about the Good Samaritan, that punk who helped someone in need without being compensated. What was he thinking? He obviously wasn’t. Besides, rudeness, not selflessness, is next to godliness in this country. Help your children learn to love and cherish rudeness. Who cares if the rest of the world hates this country for our rude and surly attitudes? It’s our biological and legal right as Americans to be rude, and you must allow your children to practice as often as they can.

Order is often optional here.
Order is often optional here.

Don't make your children respect their elders, their teachers, the police, the law, the court system, the environment, or the rules of the road. The only people your children should respect are themselves. Period. Allow them the freedom to make fun of anyone in authority at all times. No one else on this planet, not even you, really matters to them, so let them disrespect everyone they meet. Your children’s true role models (see below) do this, so why shouldn’t they?

It's easy to objectify this pinup girl.
It's easy to objectify this pinup girl.

Don't make your children look at people of the opposite sex as people. Let your children objectify other people. It makes it easier to curse (or beat) those people later in their failed marriages, on their jobs, or in their daily lives. Remember: the parts of a person are always much greater than the sum of those parts. Preach that to them, and they will fit seamlessly into the sexist society they live in.

I will say nothing bad about this man.
I will say nothing bad about this man.

Don't make your children give up their dreams of becoming rap stars, professional athletes, singers, performers, or other random celebrities. Though their chances of becoming rich and famous are less than .000006%, at least there is a chance. Although they’d have a better chance of lightning striking them after they win the lottery on their way to a snowball fight in hell, there’s still the chance that some TV network will use them on a reality TV show. Don’t deny your children such attainable dreams.

Avoid this place if you have children.
Avoid this place if you have children.

Don't make your children go to church, synagogue, mass, or a mosque. There is absolutely no need for them to discover a belief system that you don’t follow. There is no logical reason for your children to believe in any higher power other than themselves. You’ve raised your children to be gods and goddesses. To make them believe otherwise would be sacrilegious.

These children are foolishly paying attention.
These children are foolishly paying attention.

Don't make your children care about or study hard in school. There’s no need for them to be smarter than you are. If they say they need to study or do homework, ask them why. If they say, “I need to improve myself through education,” explain to them how successful you are after you didn’t take your education seriously. That will cure them of any of their ambitions.

What could these people possibly be doing? It looks so difficult.
What could these people possibly be doing? It looks so difficult.

Don't make your children vote or take any part in this democracy. The idea of a democracy is far too difficult for even you to understand, so why confuse your children by trying to explain the democratic process? No one really knows what a truly good citizen is. All those laws and regulations are far too much for anyone to remember or abide by, right? And when asked, your children can honestly say, “Well, I didn’t vote for the guy.”

This is one of the keys to happiness for a teenager.
This is one of the keys to happiness for a teenager.

Don't make your children maintain a budget. You want them to spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need. It’s good for the economy. You wouldn’t want anyone to think your kids were bad Americans, would you? Saving up for something of value is for sissies. Give them their own credit cards instead and let them go into irreversible debt. It’s okay if they ruin their credit ratings now. They’re young. They’ll get out of debt eventually.

This sad child has lost her freedom because she has to take care of the family dog.
This sad child has lost her freedom because she has to take care of the family dog.

Don't make your children try to do anything especially difficult like keeping a curfew, a pet, or their mouths shut in public. Never say, “Watch your language.” It’s a free country, and your children have the freedom to say whatever they want whenever they want to whomever they want. Teach them that it’s okay to curse cops, teachers, and strangers aloud or online. Nothing ever really bad happens when children do this, and if by chance anything unpleasant does happen, you can always sue someone like Facebook or the school or society in general. If you are vigilant, your kids will never have to pay for their foolishness as long as they live.

I doubt anyone ever read this.
I doubt anyone ever read this.

Don't make your children watch their weight or have good eating habits. You’re not going to live as long as you should, so why should they? It’s important that they be a burden on our health system so health costs can continue to skyrocket to support so many millions of workers in the pharmaceutical industry, the backbone of this great nation. If they threaten to “go outside to play,” stop them at the door, hand them a Twinkie, and direct them to the couch. They’ll thank you for this intervention later when they get their lab results.

She is exhausted from doing her unpaid chore.
She is exhausted from doing her unpaid chore.

Don't make your children get part-time jobs or do chores like sweeping, dusting, cutting grass, or vacuuming. If you do, you’ll have to teach them to have a good work ethic, which isn’t something you’re an expert in yourself. They’d have to learn the value of being on time, the value of not calling in “sick” because they were out partying all night, the value of being dressed properly for work, and the value of following the rules of the workplace. Who does that anymore? You don’t want your children to be oddballs, do you? Keep them lazy and slack. Their future employers will appreciate it.

I couldn't tell you what these are. They certainly are pretty.
I couldn't tell you what these are. They certainly are pretty.

Don't make your children use condoms, birth control, or practice safe sex. You love raising children, right? Wouldn’t you love to raise your grandchildren? Oh, the things you could teach them! And whatever you do, don’t teach your children anything about sex. Keep them in the dark where you learned most of what you know. Let them find out on their own what AIDS, herpes, HPV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and crabs are. Experience is still the best teacher, right?

Parents should never post this on their children's doors.
Parents should never post this on their children's doors.

Don't make your children pay rent if they stay with you past their eighteenth birthdays. That would be cruel and unusual punishment and counterproductive to the way you raised them. You’ve raised them to be sponges. Let them sponge off you for the rest of your retirement money. That’s why you’re working now, isn’t it? You want your children to live with you forever, right? Charging them for the right to stay in their own home is blasphemy!

What a true statement!
What a true statement!

Don't make your children plan for the future. Let them live for today and not worry at all about the lessons of yesterday. Those lessons don’t matter. They obviously didn’t matter to you, did they? Those lame lessons learned from grandparents and other so-called “wise” people should go in one ear and out the other. Keep your children living in the moment because only the moment lasts.

This is how most parents have gotten through the day for the last 500 years.
This is how most parents have gotten through the day for the last 500 years.

Don't make your children think. If they think too much, they’ll get headaches and need more medication than what you’re already giving them. You cannot ever let them figure things out on their own. That requires too much work. They’re a confused species. Think for them so they’ll never have to.

Thankfully, this woman was later arrested, charged, and convicted of battery on a child.
Thankfully, this woman was later arrested, charged, and convicted of battery on a child.

Don’t you ever scold them for any misbehavior, especially in public. Give them time-outs so they can collect themselves, and if they can’t, medicate them until they’re zombies. If they throw a tantrum in a public place, give in. That’s much more important that creating a scene someone will post to Facebook or YouTube. Let them be three-year-olds for as long as possible. They grow up too fast as it is, don’t they? Keep them that way for as long as you can.

Don’t you ever punish or ground them or withhold anything from them at any time. You don’t want them to feel bad about the foolish things they say and do, do you? Therapy is expensive. Remember: there are no teachable moments. Their self-esteem is so much more important than knowing right from wrong. Punishment can only lead to improved behavior, and that’s not what you’re after, is it? Your children are already perfect. Punishing and correcting them sends them the message that they aren’t.

True wisdom for any age!
True wisdom for any age!

Don't you ever make them ask you for something twice. Whatever they ask for, you must give it to them. Say “yes” to your children at all times. If they hear the word “no” too often, they will learn not to approach you for anything unless they really need it. They may never talk to you ever again, and you don’t want that, do you? Keep the lines of dialogue open by being agreeable to every one of their requests, no matter how bizarre or impossible.

Who were these guys?
Who were these guys?
Who were these guys?
Who were these guys?
Who were these guys?
Who were these guys?
Who were these guys?
Who were these guys?

Don't you ever encourage them to have morals, scruples, or patriotic ideals. They might end up like the Minutemen during the American Revolution, the doughboys during World War I, the GI’s who died on Omaha Beach and on Okinawa during World War II, the soldiers who died near the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War, or the 58,000+ who died during the Vietnam War. If you imbue in them a sense of duty and honor, they may end up like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, or Jesus, and we all know what happened to them. You don’t want that. You want your children to be ordinary, mediocre, and nondescript. You don’t want your children to become heroes. You don’t want anyone to write about your children in history books. You don’t want anyone to blame you for their inspiring lives, do you? Keep your children amoral, and they’ll never have to consider their actions and inaction.

She'll have no trouble finding a job.
She'll have no trouble finding a job.

Don't you ever tell them how to dress or how to adorn their bodies. Let them sag their britches and wear provocative clothing whenever and wherever they want. Let them get tattoos and piercings. It won’t affect their ability to get a job or find the man or woman of their dreams or have people treat them with respect. If they’re not hired, they shouldn’t be working for that company anyway. If no one wants to have relationships with them, those relationships were not meant to be. If no one respects them, so what? As long as they respect themselves, they’ll be just fine.

Know your bail bondsman--he may come in handy.
Know your bail bondsman--he may come in handy.

Don't you ever keep them out of the decision-making process. When they say, “It’s my life,” agree with them. Let them make their own decisions about everything they care to, but when they make mistakes, you go and solve all their problems. It may be their pot, but you have to stew in it. Make sure you start a “bail money” fund when they’re toddlers.

This is an important communication device for teenagers.
This is an important communication device for teenagers.

Don't you ever keep them from talking to strangers online and in public, especially when you’re not around. No one likes a snooping parent. Give your children their space. They deserve to be left alone. Besides, meeting new and dangerous people will improve their people skills. Don’t worry that children go missing at an alarming rate in this country. Your child won’t be one of them.

TV: God's gift to the modern parent
TV: God's gift to the modern parent

Don't you ever prohibit them from watching, surfing, and listening to whatever they want to. None of those programs, movies, or songs will get into their heads to affect the way they talk, walk, learn, behave, or act. It’s foolish to think you can stop them by taking their devices away, so why try? You bought most of those “screens” for them, right? Besides, there’s already enough division in the world. Be permissive, tolerant, and non-judgmental. No one likes parents who set limits for their children.

Look at these parents wasting their time waiting for their children to come home!
Look at these parents wasting their time waiting for their children to come home!

Don't you ever question them when they come home late. When they do finally come home in time for lunch, simply serve it up and don’t ask them any questions like “Where have you been?” or “Who have you been with?” or “Did you know your father and I were worried sick?” Children need their secrets and their secret lives, too. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” should be your motto. Ignorance is, indeed, bliss to every parent.

These are necessary evils for children to enjoy.
These are necessary evils for children to enjoy.
These will improve a child's manual dexterity.
These will improve a child's manual dexterity.
This is an acceptable way to wear one's pants.
This is an acceptable way to wear one's pants.
A most intelligent quotable quote!
A most intelligent quotable quote!

Do supply your children with controlled substances--drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.They’ll never truly know the joys and dangers of these necessary evils unless they experience them firsthand, right? It doesn’t matter that alcohol-related car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in this country. Only 5,000 teenagers die every year thanks to alcohol. Your child won’t be one of them. Your child has a great chance of not becoming a statistic. Believe in that chance.

Do supply your children with screens--cellphones with game apps, game systems and controllers, junk food and sugary soda for when they play their games, computers that come with games, and TV’s with remote controls and more games. As long as whatever you provide comes with mindless games, they won’t have to exercise their minds—which we all know is a very dangerous thing for any child to do. Children need their downtime, too. Don’t expect them to pick up a book because books are useless without remote controls. Children are naturally happier when they can ignore you and use their fingers to press a bunch of buttons.

Do supply them with the "surface" things in life--designer shoes, clothes, haircuts, money for tattoos and piercings. Keep them thinking that beauty is only skin-deep. Make them believe that true beauty lies outside the body, not inside. If necessary, give them the opportunity for tanning sessions, nose jobs, tummy tucks, Botox, implants, and other outward augmentation. Your children are only as beautiful as they look, right? Help them look better than the genes you provided them with, and they’ll thank you for the rest of their beautiful lives.

Do supply them with excuses--“It’s your mama’s/dad’s fault”; “It’s the government’s fault”; “It’s the school’s fault”; “It’s the church’s fault”; “It’s the Man’s fault”; “It’s your ancestors’ fault”; “It’s the President’s fault”; “It’s the big corporations’ fault”; “It’s anyone-but-your fault.” Drill these excuses into their heads so they can indoctrinate the grandchildren you’ll be raising in no time at all.

These people obviously have too much time on their hands.
These people obviously have too much time on their hands.

In summation ...

Don't instill in them a sense of fairness and justice. Don’t tell them, “Life isn’t fair.” Don’t tell them to “play by the rules.” Do tell them, “It’s okay to do bad things as long as you don’t get caught.” Don’t tell them, “It’s not whether you win or lose—it’s how you play the game.” We couldn’t have Congress if everyone believed that nonsense. We all know that life is fair to those who break the rules, don’t get caught, and win at all costs. Teach them that, and they’ll become rich, famous, and lead wonderful lives in rehab.


John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller
Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Don’t endow them with a yearning for lifelong learning. Who needs college anyway? It’s far too expensive, and there aren’t any jobs for college graduates anyway, right? What’s the point of going? So many people have gone on to great wealth without a college education. Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics and Halle Berry, the Academy Award-winning actress, never went to college. Michael Dell dropped out of college to start his computer company. Henry Ford never even graduated high school. Bill Gates dropped out of college, and now he’s the richest man in the world. Andrew Jackson, our sixth president, never went to college. Rachael Ray, that spunky TV chef lady, never went to college or took any cooking classes. John D. Rockefellar was a high school dropout and America’s first billionaire. Director Steven Spielberg and Mark Zuckerberg, the guy who created Facebook, dropped out of college. That’s ten—ten incredible people—out of the estimated 545 million Americans who have ever lived. That’s a decent success rate, isn’t it? Your child will definitely be one of them someday if you choose not to be a parent.

Michael Jordan played a little basketball once.
Michael Jordan played a little basketball once.
Muhammad Ali was kind of great.
Muhammad Ali was kind of great.
Ursula Burns runs a little company called Xerox.
Ursula Burns runs a little company called Xerox.
Sam Walton's first little store that became just a little bigger--look how small it is!
Sam Walton's first little store that became just a little bigger--look how small it is!
Oprah Winfrey is somewhat famous.
Oprah Winfrey is somewhat famous.

Don’t encourage them to have intestinal fortitude and drive. Don’t tell them, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Don’t tell them, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Don’t tell them, “Nothing will work until you do.” Do tell them to give up. So what if Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, improved his game, and went on to become a legend. He was only a part of six NBA championships. So what if publishers rejected Stephen King’s novel Carrie 30 times. He has only sold 350 million books since. Who reads those? So what if publishers rejected the writers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series 140 times. They’ve only sold 85 million copies. So what if Muhammad Ali lost and regained the heavyweight boxing title three times. No one knows who he is. So what if Ursula Burns grew up in the projects of New York City and is now CEO of Xerox. So what if Howard Schultz grew up in the projects of Brooklyn and started some little company called Starbucks. So what if J. K. Rowling was on welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. So what if some guy named Sam Walton had to milk cows to make ends meet. He only started Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. I don’t know anyone who shops at those stores, do you? Who cares if Oprah Winfrey was a runaway at 13 and later became somewhat famous? Giving up and quitting is the only logical thing you can teach your children to do since trying hard and not giving up can only lead to heartache and frustration. If you give up, so will they.

Snooki will be a saint one day.
Snooki will be a saint one day.
Charlie Sheen is our greatest role model.
Charlie Sheen is our greatest role model.

And parents, whatever you do, don’t try to be role models. Your children already have too many rappers, singers, athletes, reality TV “stars,” and celebrities for role models, and they are so much cooler than you’ll ever be. Why fight it? Besides, it would be hypocritical for you to try to be a role model, wouldn’t it? Do as I say, not as I do, right? Quit trying to be their guides and role models and become their friends instead. That’s right. Friend your children, and they’ll be productive citizens long after you’ve left this world, and that’s really what you want, isn’t it? You want a legacy. Look at your children right now wherever they are—if you even know where they are. Your children will be your legacy one day. Aren’t you proud of what you’ve created? Follow my advice to the letter, and your legacy will make headline news one day—and soon.

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    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 4 years ago from S. Florida

      Gathers beautifully insane momentum as it goes.

      A "Modest Proposal" indeed!

      Voted up and "funny." ;-)

    • LookNoHands profile image

      Erica Gourley 4 years ago from USA

      I really enjoyed this. Well done- Swift would be proud.

    • multiculturalsoul profile image
      Author

      JJ Murray 4 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      I am a great fan of Swift. I tried to emulate his subdued, clinical style, but I'm not sure if I was successful. A little too much emotion leaked in.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 4 years ago from Florida

      multiculturalsoul...Is that Taylor Swift you speak of ? I just love her music...could not resist that one..LOVED..LOVED your hub..and laughing so heard I can hardly see to type..Is your child rearing book available on denile.com ? After 48 years of" guilt " I realize I raised my brood the opposite of yours..no wonder they turned out great..

      enjoy the day my friend...

    • multiculturalsoul profile image
      Author

      JJ Murray 4 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Actually, I have penned a somewhat ridiculous book called FATHERS ARE BABYSITTERS: 100 RULES FOR EXPECTANT FATHERS for the Kindle. Most dads like it since I pull few punches.

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