According to Heritage research fellow Robert Rector, teens who took the pledge – about 16 percent of the girls in America and 10 percent of the boys – had one-fourth the level of sexual activity during their teen years as those who didn't. The teens reported overwhelmingly that the reason they didn't have sex was they had taken these pledges.

This should cause adults everywhere to pause and consider a powerful truth: Teenagers can act responsibly when it is expected of them.

When adults set standards of decency for children, empower them to accept the challenge, believe that they can live it up to it and give them tools to do so, teenagers respond.

I hear all the time about how America is going to heck in a hand basket – how morals are slipping and people no longer seem to care about what is right. Well, as it turns out, parents do know right from wrong, and it's high time we take back the night. It's time to reject the dark and hopeless view that teenagers are inherently evil and gutless.

As I've said before, the problem isn't "these kids today" – the problem is "these adults today." Adults write the doomsday "health" curricula. Adults produce the sexualized commercials and videos and movies and music geared toward kids. And it is adults who can turn the tide.

Thankfully, parents don't have to go it alone. There are plenty of resources to enable you to help your child succeed – find other parents who share your values, look for dynamic church youth groups, and check out great online resources like Focus On The Family.

Parents: You are the first and last line of defense for your children. It's time to step up to the plate and make your voice heard loud and clear – in your local schools, your community and among your peers.

Your children need you to lead the way.

Rebecca Hagelin is a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a research and educational think-tank whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense. She is also the former vice president of communications for WorldNetDaily and her 60-second radio commentaries can be heard on the Salem Communications Network.

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