Hiding in Plain Sight

Mass shootings were shocking … but not anymore! Now they are, sad to say, just commonplace. Some changes have been made to improve safety in schools and other public places, but still, much to everyone’s dismay, the big question remains. How can we end them for good? 

The search goes on, but in reality the answer is hiding in plain sight—education for new and young parents. Birth to age three are the true formative years. Study after study have given the same results—early positive input in the first three years correlates with productive focused people in later life.

What is important?

  • An enriched learning environment
  • An emphasis on high quality and quantity language between parents and children
  • Respect 

There is more to it, of course! Consistent care and concern daily on the part of at least one adult. The late and very distinguished professor of child development at Cornell University said it this way. There needs to be at least one person “to be crazy about the kid.”

Violence is not a new concept. Back in 1994 the Carnegie Commission conducted a multi-million dollar research project to find out why there was so much crime and violence in our country at that time. While they thought they were going to find that it was because of terrible conditions for teens and young adults, all evidence was about what happens to young children during their first three years. 

What does happen that causes them to have such bad problems later in life? Abuse and neglect are the main culprits. However, in addition, in varying degrees, unkind words are prevalent. A lack of respect and glaring mistreatment can also be found early.

What to do?

Provide the basics of education to all parents right from the start. Where is that missing place called “School for Parents-to-Be?” Some services already exist for the very few–in hospitals, some preschools and through other kinds of specials programming. However, many more are needed. Start now, in your town, city, district, school or community and spread the word. Help bring needed parenting skills to all new and beginning parents as soon as their babies are born and even before. Do what you can to make this necessity a reality. Confident parenting saves lives.


  1. Right on target, Dr. Sally. As founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network I fully endorse your work and agree that early parenting education is pivotal to better parenting, more well-adjusted children and happier families. All lead to less divorce and better relationship decisions. It’s a sound, smart place to begin for everyone.

  2. Hi Rosalind,
    I am a big fan of your work too. Your original concept of being “child-centered” has helped many parents deal with challenging issues and some very problematic situations. Parents who are divorced face all the same problems as parents who are not divorced plus more! It is never too late to learn new skills and work hard to have life run as smoothly as possible, but best of all is to be educated “right from the start!” Thank you very much for your support of this idea. I have been advocating for early parent education for a very long time. Hopefully this new terrible state of affairs will be the exact right force needed to make this vital service available to all new and young parents.

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