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Parental education might quell violence

Take a young parent who is barely more than a child himself, mix in a bad childhood and poor role models, add the pressure of a new baby and you get the potential for disaster.

Saturday, October 21, 2000

Take a young parent who is barely more than a child himself, mix in a bad childhood and poor role models, add the pressure of a new baby and you get the potential for disaster.

And, lately, there seem to be more and more examples of just such a mix that have ended in the death of an innocent child at the hands of the two people who are supposed to love him the most – his parents.

Educating people about how to handle the pressures of parenthood might not keep a young father from tossing his or her baby out a window or shaking an infant to death, but there is no question that one of the reasons that we have so many bad parents is that they don’t know how to do it right.

Society can limit the number of children who have babies in many positive ways – sex education, encouraging parents to keep track of where their children are, public awareness campaigns about the costs of getting pregnant in high school. That probably is the best way to encourage teenagers to wait until they are older before they decide to start families.

But once they are pregnant, then is the time to start giving them the skills they need to cope and to be good mothers and fathers.

Not all teen parents hurt their children. Most are dedicated and determined to give their children the best they have.

But, either way, education can help them not only understand the responsibility of their choice, but also how to combine their own growth with caring for a child.

Who knows, knowing they are not alone might be just what they need to make it.