Mom’s Voice: The Alcatraz Guide to Parenting

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Our recent trip to Alcatraz really inspired me as a parent.

I’ve begun writing “The Alcatraz Guide to Parenting.” It seems so logical, to draw from some of the wisdom of during the years on The Rock from 1933 to 1963. If Al Capone or Machine Gun Kelly’s mommies and daddies had enforced some of these rules at the get go, things may have turned out very differently for them.

Helicopter Parents, Tiger Parents, Attachment Parents. Why not Alcatraz Parents? A straightforward approach creating an environment of discipline and order, where kids must work hard and earn privileges.

I’ve begun by editing the official Alcatraz Regulation Handbook, tailoring the wording to fit any household with children. The prisoners each were issued a copy of the handbook, which contained over 50 regulations, and were required to keep it in their cells at all times.

alcatrazMy favorite is regulation five. It would make a cute sign to hang in the nursery: “You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else that you get is a privilege.”

Children can begin a good conduct record by implementing this regulation:

“GOOD CONDUCT means conducting yourself in a quiet and orderly manner and keeping your cell room neat, clean and free from contraband. It means obeying the rules of the Institution house and displaying a cooperative attitude. It also means obeying orders of Officials, Officers and other employees parents without delay or argument.”

Teaching kids about work at an early age is important. Alcatraz had that covered too. As you can see, this needed hardly any edits:

“WORK. You are required to work at whatever you are told to do. Usually your first assignment will be to temporary maintenance jobs around the cellhouse. Other maintenance jobs include the Culinary Unit, the Clothing and Bath Room, … and the Yard Detail.”

And this…

“GOOD WORK RECORD means the reputation you establish as a willing, capable workman member of this family, doing your best at whatever work you are told to do.”

Alcatraz even addressed how to properly complain. Regulation number 23 is genius:  “YOUR CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTIONS OR LEGITIMATE COMPLAINTS if made by you to the proper Officials your parents, will receive careful consideration. However, if you make groundless complaints for the purpose of creating dis-satisfaction and/or stirring up trouble; or if you agitate’ or rib’ yourself or others into trouble, you will be subject to disciplinary action.”

Alcatraz parents will run a tight and orderly household where respect, hard work, good conduct would be nonnegotiable.

The “Alcatraz Guide to Parenting” will, however need a few extra chapters such as Caring for Your Pet, Electronics, Social Media, and School.

Join the movement!



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