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The following is a guest post by my friend Kathleen Caron. Kathleen blogs at Full of Life: Soul Food at kathleencaron.com. Kathleen lives and works in Northern Virginia with her husband and three children. She writes about food for the body and soul and sometimes she rants.
How to raise a callous child, a Guest Post
Guest post by Kathleen Caron
How furious would you be if you found out your teenager broke into somebody’s home, invited 300 of their closest friends to a huge party, vandalized the house, and live-Tweeted drunken photos and profanity-laced descriptions of their delinquency?
Really mad, right? No doubt your child would be grounded until they were old enough to qualify for the senior citizen discount. And of course, you would promise the homeowner that your child would pay back every penny of the damage.
You’re obviously not the parents of the 300 teenagers who broke into former NFL player Brian Holloway’s farm house in Stephentown, New York, some of whom are now threatening to sue Mr. Holloway for posting their children’s names on his website helpmesave300.com.
Teenagers broke in while the Holloways were in Florida and held a drug- and booze-soaked party, inflicting an estimated $20,000 in damage on the beautiful farmhouse. They smashed windows and doors, urinated on the carpet, spray painted walls and stole family memorabilia from the home.
A three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XX veteran, Mr. Holloway told ABC News, “Parents have threatened me. Your kids are in my house breaking and stealing my stuff and you are mad at me because I posted pictures that they took and posted themselves of them partying and tearing things up?”
Why would a parent defend such defenseless behavior? And how did these parents so utterly fail to instill in their children any sense of decency or honor or kindness or empathy?
How to raise a nihilistic, callous child:
- Let your child do whatever they want, with no consequences whatsoever. Be sure they hold you, their parent, in utter contempt.
- Give them the distinct impression that you don’t give a rat’s rear end what they do.*
- Do not deprive your child of anything their heart desires, whether it’s Beats by Dre, a new Jeep Wrangler or the latest iPhone, because if you do, they might not like you any more. Worst of all, they might think you’re not cool.
- Never talk to your child about anything profound or meaningful, so that they will grow up believing life is all about the party.
- Do not allow your children to inconvenience you beyond taking them to the mall and handing them 20 bucks when they ask for it. Don’t feel that you need to trouble yourself with such boring drudgery as spending time with your kids, disciplining them or providing structure in their lives.
- And, of course, sue anyone who threatens to hold your delinquent child accountable for their reprehensible actions.
On the other hand, Mr. Holloway’s response to this teenage terrorism has been nothing less than remarkable. He set up the website helpmesave300.com in part to find out who was involved, but his bigger concern is for the future of the wayward teens.
“Hopefully we could get some help in restoring the damage,” he wrote on his site. “But first, I’d like to have a family village conversation…I want to [set] aside the very strong emotions I’m feeling and focus on the one thing that is extremely clear: the lives of these 300 students. I want them to live. I’ve seen too many young people die because of [excessive] partying, drugs and alcohol.”
Mr. Holloway held his own party, inviting all Stephentown military personnel and their families to a “Family Reunion of Champions.” He also invited the 300 miscreants who trashed his house.
“Please help! Come out and help set up, fix up, bring food, and picnic stuff, so we can honor these real HEROES. I’m here. Come now. Take a stand for your future. This is called redemption,” he posted on his site.
If my child was one of the infamous “300,” that’s one party they would definitely be attending.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
What would you do if you found out your child had broken into someone’s home and held a wild party? Please share in the comments.