Parenting Moral Kids

Nine months after the Columbine High School shootings, the tragedy remains a wake-up call about troubled teens.

Schools, communities, and states continue to devise ways to help kids on the edge and hinder their potential for acting out their rage.

From control of guns to detecting depression to hanging the Ten Commandants on school walls, preventing teens from "running wild" has become part of daily American life.

While such problems as teen crime and teen pregnancy are lessening, Columbine was an alert that more and more children just don't know right from wrong and that they can be found in any segment of society.

A survey of 2,000 Americans by the National Issues Forums, released this week, found strong interest in offering classes on parenting to high school students as well as adults.

The survey's author, John Doble of Doble Research Associates, says, "Citizens were adamant that the central problems with kids stem from parents - whether single, working, or stay-at-home - who are 'emotional absentees' and not involved in their children's lives." Many Americans want public schools to do more to teach the responsibilities of being a parent - short of teaching religious values.

Also, many parents want help in controlling what their children experience in the mass media, from the Internet to music lyrics.

Solutions to these heightened concerns about raising moral children are largely local - churches, schools, libraries, and even the workplace (by allowing flextime). Many communities have nonprofit "parent educators" who help families in need or parents seeking advice. Perhaps such assistance can be offered more broadly.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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