With fewer models in culture, or at home, for stable, two-parent families (one child in three is now born out of wedlock), by the time teens reach their 20s, many are living together and having babies in a nonmarital environment that has been modeled before them through personal experience, the media and their peers. Nearly half of the mothers who give birth outside of marriage are cohabiting with the child's father at the time of birth.
Though true abstinence-only programs have been effective in altering sexual behavior, the so-called "sex education" programs in government schools do more to promote sex than prevent it, giving lip service to chastity while spending most of the class time teaching kids how to use condoms.
If parents care enough about their children to want to do more than fret about such things, they are going to have to radically alter their approach to childrearing.
Step one is to pull them from the government schools that serve as hothouses for this kind of behavior and thinking. Step two is to reduce lavish lifestyles so that parents work less and invest more time in their children, with one parent actually staying home to make the home a safe haven. Step three is no television in the home. Television has become hostile to the things most parents want their children to believe and embrace. It is deadly to their moral development; it encourages disrespect for fathers and undermines those things that used to make families a strong, positive cultural force.
The government schools and the sex and entertainment industries aren't about to fix the problem. The responsibility to properly raise children belongs to parents. The state and various interest groups have no right to develop the moral fiber of a child and, in fact, they are speedily undermining that development.
If parents don't want any more surprises like those in Tampa, they have to rescue their kids from a hostile culture, just as they would rescue them from a burning building. In fact, those "buildings" are enveloped in the flames of self-indulgence. And the damage is not only to their bodies, but also to their minds and souls.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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