Parents need community to raise their children

You got to start early, being the first setters of filters for your children. Early. Like, 30 seconds after they're born. in setting the notions of what it is to be a person, a sexual being, to help young people get in tune with their bodies, their urges, their sexuality, and begin to set parameters, project possible avenues about how to go through life. You've go to exemplify what you're talking about. Because young people learn a great deal by watching, not by explicit instruction.

It has to then be reinforced by other people in a community. That's why the neighborhood, income level, residential patterns and the people there matter. That's why other institutions matter.

They have to help complete the process of socialization. No single parent, no set of two parents, can raise a child to be a functioning viable human being simply by themselves. We're not islands. There's too much going on.

And I think peer groups still are the predominant means for young people ultimately being persuaded one way or the other about what they're going to do. Not television.

Parental influence is gonna be important, but parents are no longer taking you everywhere, and bringing you home, thus controlling, your relationships and who you're gonna be with. You may have your own phone. In some cultural settings you are likely to have, especially if you're male, your own beeper. So you can be reached, and your parents never know you're being reached, because the pager's going off in silent mode with vibration going off, and you got the number, you go find the nearest phone and you hook up.

It's a little different if you got to reach the young lady or the young man of your choice by waiting for the drawbridge to come down over the moat to let you in the castle.

Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College

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