Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Parents Deserve Blame for Flash Mob Teens

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2011 Nov 30





It happened again last week, this time at a 7-Eleven in Silver Spring, Maryland. 


As many as 50 teens and young adults were caught on camera robbing the store. To look at the video footage is to see modern-day anarchy in full living color. The operators of the business were helpless until police arrived.


Officials in cities where “flash mobs” have wreaked havoc insist they’re investigating the incidents and studying ways to prevent them from happening again. In some places, like Philadelphia, they’ve instituted curfews. I appreciate these efforts, but you and I know the problem isn’t rooted in a lack of law enforcement or the failure of store owners to take necessary security precautions.


The problem is rooted in failure at home. There is a lack of moral training from parents to children. In fact, in many of the homes, there’s no involved father and more likely than not, there’s an exasperated mother who almost doesn’t know where to begin.


For example, when questioned by police, many of the parents whose kids have been caught participating in these flash mobs claimed to not even know where their kids were.


Back when I was a kid, there used to be public service announcements on television that went something like this:


It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?


Do you remember those?


Now, if you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you know where your kids are. But what about the children in your neighborhood who are most vulnerable? I would encourage you to pray about how you can help parents whose kids are most likely to get caught up in this type of destructive behavior. Invite them to church with you. Have them over for dinner. Take them to a ball game.


I know many parents who deliberately try and turn their house into a teen-friendly hangout. Sure it will cost you money since kids like to eat, and quiet since teens can be loud, but wouldn’t you rather have your kids and their friends be influenced by you instead of someone you don’t even know? 


Remember, too, that values are not only taught, but caught. Are you living up to God’s standards? Our kids are watching.


Would you like some help when it comes to effectively passing on your faith and values to your children? Please click here to learn about some terrific resources from Focus on the Family. It would be our privilege to lend a hand.


Somebody once said that the difference between try and triumph is a little “umph.” Don’t forget that when it comes to raising kids by God’s standards we can’t afford to sit back and let somebody else do the job God has given us to get done.


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