Divorce, separation, upside-down homes with mother in control, uncooperation between parents are some of the greatest handicaps to proper child training — and a direct source of juvenile delinquency! Read, in this article, how to train your children together!
"ANY PROGRAM to combat juvenile delinquency can begin in only one place — the home," said J. Edgar Hoover in his counterattack on juvenile delinquency. Mr. Hoover sharply emphasized the growing American tragedy — the destruction of the basic roots of any society, the home!
Fertile Ground for Crime
Through separation, divorce, broken homes because of death or accident, illegitimacy and mounting moral looseness among married couples, a tremendous breeding ground of child crime is being cultivated! The family life of millions has degenerated into a frantic struggle for money, a dash to pleasures, or a silent session in front of the television set and is at a new all-time low today. Our insatiable lust for entertainment and pleasure, our monstrous personal selfishness, our hideous lack of morals and our skyrocketing divorce rate are major contributing factors in producing the greatest generation of youthful criminals the world has ever seen. Those dealing with the monumental problem of child crime have noted that among the varied reasons for juvenile delinquency, parental uncooperation is a major contributing factor. Delinquents are not only spawned in slums, or as a result of broken and shattered homes but also in families where all at least seems to be well on the exterior, but where parental mismanagement and uncooperation is an unseen disease. J. Edgar Hoover went on to say abdications "of parental responsibility — a malignant form of self — indulgence before duty — has gained a stranglehold on all too many American households today." Mr. Hoover went on to quote from a jurist who said recently "the (delinquency) problem is not so much an improper youth as it is an improper home." Divorce statistics, alarming as they are, only further serve to prove there are millions of other homes which are also infected with the same sicknesses but which have NOT YET ended in divorce! For every broken home today, there are myriads of others which are already showing the cracks, the breakdown in parental co-operation, the lessening of morals, which will ultimately lead to a broken home. And for every ultimate separation, there are many more marriages which may continue to hold together — but under conditions which are atrocious for child rearing!
Obviously, the mother who is divorced from her husband, a father who is attempting to rear children not his own, a widow with growing children, or any home which, through whatever circumstances, is not composed of a father and a mother with their children — is suffering from serious handicaps. This does not mean that such a situation is hopeless, or that the difficulties cannot be overcome, or that the children will automatically become delinquents! It DOES mean, however, that a great deal of additional wisdom and understanding will have to be exercised — realizing that the God-given and basic environment originally DESIGNED for children, that of a loving father and a mother, is MISSING, and that this is a severe handicap. Today, the roots of America's modern sociological problems are so deep as to be seemingly incomprehensible to the average layman. Books and articles are written investigating this or that facet of our burgeoning divorce problems surveys are taken, tests are given, marriage counselors are busy at work. But the problem still remains. Mr. Hoover said, "Unquestionably, the very heart of the delinquency problem rests with the family. When mothers and fathers fulfill responsibilities of parenthood, juvenile crime cannot exist.... The pressures of business have estranged thousands of youngsters from their fathers. The distance between office and home has grown increasingly greater, and in many families the young children are in bed before their father gets home from work. Under circumstances such as these, mothers have been forced into a role of greater authority and responsibility. The man of the house tends to be looked upon as merely a weekend handy man — a tired, silent partner." (Emphasis ours) (Pages 8-9, Counterattack On Juvenile Delinquency, J. Edgar Hoover) Almighty God prophesied this would be true! "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and WOMEN RULE OVER THEM" (Isa. 3:12). Today, the excuse is that both members must work, that the husband will not fulfill his responsibility, or that the husband must be away much of the time. These can all be very valid reasons, to most people, but should be recognized as another of the very serious handicaps to proper child rearing. Our upside-down homes led Judge Samuel S. Liebowitz, in an article published in This Week Magazine, to say, 'Put father back at the head of the family.' These nine words spell out the tragedy of the American teenager. He has been raised in a household where 'obey' is a dirty word, and where the mother has put herself at the head of the family. Well, in my opinion, no woman looks good wearing a man's pants. We are becoming a nation of matriarchs. Absolutely true! Many do not like to ADMIT the truth! They like to "reason" that these striking factors are not so serious as they seem. Many like to "kid themselves" their homes are being run "just right" and that there is no problem which should be in any way a deterrent to good child rearing. It's time to quit deluding ourselves, and look at the facts! It's time we realized that Almighty God is indicting our nation, showing our very national future is threatened, not only by the monstrous enemy of Communism, but by the terrifying decay of our own home life!
Household Civil War
Judge Liebowitz went on to describe the pressures placed upon helpless children by upside-down, disorganized, uncooperative homes. He said, "How many times have you heard a father say 'John, it's time to go to bed,' or words to that effect, only to be topped by mother saying 'Oh, Harry, leave the boy alone. Stop picking on him.'? The result has been that father has slowly, albeit grudgingly, abrogated his leadership. In upper and middle class homes we have the additional specter of 'permissive' psychology at work. There the combination of mother wielding absolute power in a permissive household where Johnny is rarely, if ever, disciplined has produced the confused, rebellious, unhappy teenager who floods our traffic courts, our criminal courts and later our divorce courts." Judge Liebowitz concluded these shocking statements in a nationally circulated magazine by saying "Twenty-five per cent of all U. S. marriages now end in divorce or 'in legal separation — isn't that a shocking and incredible statistic? One out of four marriages a failure!" Yes, it certainly is SHOCKING! With the struggle for supremacy going on in the home, constant squabbling between mother and father as to who ought to be running the finances, making the decisions, punishing the children, there are millions of helpless children in our land today who, although not presently stigmatized as "delinquents" are nevertheless forced to live in an environment that is as fertile a growing ground for delinquency as that of our slums or our broken homes. Let's understand what You can do about it in your own home!
Never Be At Cross Purposes
It is a heinous crime for one parent to nullify the instructions of the other or to "take up for a child" because it is felt that the other parent is dealing too harshly with him. If the mother feels the father is spanking too hard, and begins to loudly say so — in front of the child — it will result in a sense of inner conflict within the child, and begin to set the stage for the child's future habits of using one parent against the other to get his own way! If the father does all the punishing this will be an automatic risk! Therefore, the parents should cooperate fully in the positive teaching and training of the child, and also, in the disciplining. The father should certainly take the lead — doing the heavy share of the disciplining. However, in many homes, where the father is at work during most of the daylight hours, and the mother is with the children of preschool age during the day, it is the mother who will have to do the bulk of the punishing during those hours. A father who knows spanking is God's method of discipline, and should be used in a loving and proper manner, and a mother who is against spanking, and never uses it, is a disastrous combination for child rearing! If parents are at cross purposes with one another in teaching and training their children — it would be far better if no children had ever been born into such a family! The children would have less chance than the proverbial "hoot in a whirlwind" for growing up to be obedient, respectful, morally and emotionally stable! In all the examples of teaching and discipline already given in this series, each parent should follow the exact same procedures, together! Oftentimes, both parents can share in the same period of instruction. For example: If the father gives Johnny a command to pick up his toys, the mother could follow the command immediately with saying, "Johnny, as soon as you finish obeying your father in picking up your toys, come here to the kitchen — I have something for you to do!" In this way, the mother acknowledges the father's priority, driving home the lesson that the father's command should be first obeyed — and then enforces upon the mind of the child that she too is to be obeyed with equal dispatch!
Never Take Sides
Let's assume the father really is spanking just a little too hard. What should the wife do? Should she reprimand her husband, attempt to INTERVENE in his handling of the problem? This is NOT to say, remember, that a case of actual abuse or child beating is taking place — but the right, loving, understanding and God-given WAY of disciplining children! The answer should be obvious! There is NEVER a time for the mother to openly disagree with, disapprove of, or show contempt for the teaching or discipline of the father. Some women will disagree with that statement. But they disagree with their CREATOR if they do! It is an ABOMINATION in the sight of God for a wife to rebuke a husband. What, then, is she to do? Suppose she's right — suppose father really is spanking a little harder than he should? Then the mother should wait until LATER — wait until she is alone with her husband, and discuss the matter. The child will NOT suffer any injury if the discipline is not really overly severe. He would suffer far worse injury to his permanent CHARACTER if he saw his mother shrilly accusing his father, and taking sides! It would be one of the most DAMAGING things she could do to her child — FAR more damaging, believe it or NOT, than THE LOSS OF A MEMBER OF THE BODY! A one-armed man with real spiritual wisdom and CHARACTER is better off than a criminal with two arms. Can we get the point? Almighty God is the Designer and Originator of the home! He has laid down certain spiritual LAWS to be followed for the success of that home! When those laws are broken the home will suffer the automatic penalties. NEVER take sides with your children against your mate. NEVER try to countermand an order given by the other parent — whether that order is RIGHT OR WRONG! If another tells daughter she can't have ice cream for dessert, and father countermands mother's decision — father is guilty of taking sides. He has hurt his daughter, his wife, and himself, more than he begins to realize. The simple answer, to avoid taking sides, is to talk things over. KNOW how you intend dealing with your children under specific situations. KNOW each other better. COOPERATE with one another in rearing your children.
Be a Family Unit
What's happened to our family life? In looking around Pasadena for a large ice cream freezer, I entered a local hardware store. I asked an elderly gentleman in attendance for a 21 gallon hand ice cream freezer. He said he had none — and was surprised that I would ask for one of such bulk. I looked over the stock that he had, and finally settled for a gallon and a half size. He asked me what I was going to do with such a large size — and I began to explain how I come from a fairly large family, and my wife is one of eight children. We have many in-laws and many other friends, and frequently get together for some back yard outings, dinners, and make some homemade ice cream. His eyes literally filled with tears and he, informed me this was "simply wonderful!" He said he was from Iowa, and he thought the times had passed when big families got together as a family unit in occasions of this kind! He expressed disgust at the nerve wracking modernistic helter-skelter search for enjoyment via the movies, drive-ins, and television, and was saddened to see the "family get-togethers" falling by the wayside. Do things together — as a family. That is as much a part of teaching and training children as any one of those already outlined. If more families would go on outdoor hikes, picnics, swimming parties and the like, they would experience greater feelings of love and a real sense of purpose in their lives together. The father who takes his children, whether boy or girl fishing and hunting, on field trips and outings, has a tremendous implement in his hands for proper child rearing. The mother who takes her daughter grocery shopping, teaches her to cook and to sew, has her help with the serving and preparation of lunches on family outings, is also using a wonderful tool for proper child training. Only if you, as a family, are willing to OBEY THE LAWS OF YOUR CREATOR putting your family right side up — can you expect to succeed in your goal of rearing children of real character.
What If One Parent Is Missing?
As already stated — you're working under a big handicap if one parent is missing. But it's not so big you can't overcome it with a little thought and wisdom, and a lot of patience. Let's assume the mother (since this seems to be the most general case) is trying to rear her children without a husband present. Perhaps there has been a separation, a divorce, or even a death. She ought to realize, then, that the basic environment which God DESIGNED for the home is missing. She ought to take whatever steps possible to remedy that lack — where those steps are right and good. What if you have growing sons, and they have no father to be with them, to give them of his masculine personality, his male interests and ways of doing things, his discipline? You should use real wisdom. THINK about your situation. Do you know of some of the close friends of your children? Do you know their parents? Is it possible for the father of a neighbor boy to INCLUDE your boys on an outing just once in a while? What about the local YMCA? They have arts and crafts classes, swimming classes and the like which are USUALLY (but be mighty careful to make sure) run by a competent man in the field. What about summer camp? Ever think of sending your boys to one of the many healthful, wholesome camps where rigorous outdoor activities are offered? And, finally, what about being a little more active yourself? Get interested in some of the activities, sports, hobbies that would appeal to either sex. DON'T run the risk of letting boys become "mother-dominated" or begin to mimic or unconsciously take on only feminine characteristics! Take them hiking where possible, with groups of friends where you, their mother, are along. Take them picnicking, bicycling, horseback riding, swimming. These are activities that MANY men AND women enjoy with equal relish. LOOK AROUND at your environment and your locality. Look at your home life. Do you spend too much time looking at TV? Too much time with other women? Do you spend time feeling sorry for yourself instead of being really absorbed in rearing your children properly? Can you improve your situation? Are you able to remarry, according to God's laws? (Read our free booklet, "Divorce and Remarriage" if you are in doubt) Based — upon a right knowledge of marriage, is there any chance for a reconciliation with — the father of your children? THINK about it. REALIZE what a handicap it is to attempt rearing children without a father around! PRAY about it — asking God to HELP you solve the problem. Our land is literally filled today with divorced and separated women — many thousands of them MOTHERS OF CHILDREN who are becoming loose morally — who "run around" with other women's husbands, all the while cursing the memory of the man they divorced for having done the same thing — and remembering bitterly the woman that caused it all! It's time to WAKE UP! It's time to realize our very NATION is being indicted of Almighty God for our NATIONAL CRIMES AND SINS! We have sinned grievously against our youth! We are sacrificing our own CHILDREN on the altar of lust, selfishness and vanity! If you have not yet read our free booklet, "How to Have a Happy Marriage ". It will help guide you toward providing the right, balanced, God-ordained environment for children. Next month, we shall see clearly the real culprits behind our hideous problem of child crime.