10 new commandments for parents (1914)

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Hear ye! 10 new commandments for parents written from juvenile court

A new decalogue for Los Angeles parents has been given by Miss Orfa Shontz, probation officer of the juvenile court of that city.

It has long been Miss Shontz’ theory that parents are almost wholly to blame for every case of delinquency.

The three parental disgraces she sets forth as:

  • Indifference
  • Overindulgence
  • Over-severity

The new decalogue for parents is:

1. Make the children wash the dishes, clean windows, sweep, scrub, make beds and do ordinary house work. Hard work will make them strong.

2. Open up your homes to young men or boy friends of your daughters, and to the girl friends of your sons.

3. Coax your children’s confidences. The girl who confides in her parents is scarcely liable to go wrong. Neither is the boy. No girl goes wrong unless some boy goes with her.

4. Take an interest in your children. Don’t be the indifferent parent who doesn’t know what the children are doing.

5. Don’t be a greedy parent. The child who goes to work on a falsified age certificate very frequently turns out to be a thief. It starts its business life on a very foundation of dishonesty.

6. Don’t let girls go unescorted to parks, to skating rinks or to theaters.

7. Keep your girls pleasantly employed at home. Lack of useful occupation often drives a girl to harmful pastimes.

8. Don’t let your home be, as so many modern homes, mere places for the children to room, get their meals and turn in orders for new dresses, new suits and luxuries.

9. Help us to get more police women. Aid in teaching the men who trap young girls to be afraid of the star on a woman’s breast.

10. Help spread the English language among foreigners, and so protect the foreign girls in our midst. Urge the formation of legal employment bureaus, so that girls can be placed in good places with decent wages and their environment inspected.

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Commandment No. 3 Miss Shontz emphasized particularly.


Illustration: Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Mother and Child Reading 1914

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