Betsy Hart

That's when you realize more than ever that, as a parent, society can't do our job for us. I don't try to use Paris Hilton as an object lesson, or at least I don't stop there. This isn't really about her. In fact, she might have some really positive qualities — we just would never hear about them in today's media world. That's the point: The Paris Hilton coverage is more than anything else a symptom of the problem that our culture values, or at least is obsessed with, the wrong things, and those wrong things are more available than ever.

I want my girls — and my son — to value what matters. I want them to value excellence in any good thing, including the entertainment world. But most of all, I want them to value excellence in character. News flash: I can't let a world defined by Paris Hilton change what's true for the "world" of my children and me. A world obsessed with her may make my job harder. But it is still ultimately up to me, no matter how the culture is raising up Paris and her friends, to raise my kids to stand up to the world and think through making wise value judgments on their own.


Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service. Her column on cultural and family issues, “From the Hart,” is distributed each week to hundreds of newspapers cross the country. Betsy’s first book, "It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting out Kids – and What to do About It," was released in September, 2005, and was a top seller for its publisher, Putnam Books.