Between 1967 and 1970 there was a show on television called “Dragnet”. For 30 minutes we watched the policemen from Los Angeles solve crimes.  I believe it was also one of the first shows that broadcast in color. Yes you youngsters we did have color television back in those days.

The thing that made this show unique was that it tried to be as authentic as possible. Police terms such as “All points’ bulletin” and “Modus operandi” were first used by this show.  What also set it apart was the type of subjects it used as story lines. It was one of the first to deal with topics such as the hippie movement, the drug culture and juvenile delinquency.

This was a serious show that highlighted the theme that “Crime doesn’t pay”. In each episode the main characters Joe Friday and Bill Gannon used good, old fashioned police work to solve crimes.

The term “just the facts ma’am” is one that we all associated with this show. As young person who watched regularly, I seem to remember this phrase being used in every episode. The truth is that this phrase was never used during for the 4 seasons it was on television.

This show used real cases from the files of the Los Angeles police department. The phrase “only the names have been changed to protect the innocent” was said before each episode.  Dragnet was the model used for all subsequent police shows.

Although “just the facts ma’am” was never said, it did show how the collection of facts was the only way to solve crimes. Even in today’s shows we learn that the collection of such things as statements, finger prints, hair fibers and other forensic items are important in any crime scene investigation.

As positive parents we have to use some of this same methodology to make sure that our kids have all the facts about their life choices. I think that with all the technology that is available making the right choices, today, can be very difficult.

When I was a young man there was no such thing as Facebook or Twitter. The internet was still a twinkling in someone’s eye.  All of the information about life came from my parents. They told me about those important subjects such as crossing the street only at the corners with the light and the dangers of drug use, sex and what happens to those who choose a life of crime. At times it seemed that my parents would not let me breathe. Every decision I made or was going to make was scrutinized by them. I didn’t like it then but, as I look back, I’m glad I was not allowed to act freely. Then as now there were a lot of negative influences, any one of which could have sent me down a road of destruction.

I use these same techniques with my own kids. I smile when they tell me their feelings about being “oppressed”.  Since I am determined not to be their “friend”, I continue to help them to work through those feelings. Feelings are not necessarily fact. The facts about teen pregnancy, drug abuse, bullying and the misuses of social media are real.

Even though teenage pregnancies are declining, there are about 820,000 teens that get pregnant each year. The facts are that 80% of those teenage pregnancies are unintended. It is also a fact that 80% of teen mothers end up on welfare. I have 3 boys.  It is important they know these facts and are aware of what damage a few moments of alleged fun could produce.

There is a report from 2003 that has some alarming numbers about teenage drug use. It says that 30% of 8th graders, 45% of 10th graders and 53% of 12th graders use drugs.  It goes on to report that of the 50% who drink, 32% say they were drunk at least once. As a person who had a history with substance abuse, I talk about this issue constantly with my kids.

It is a fact that 95% of all teenagers are on line. The technology of the smart phone makes it very easy for anyone to access the web. With such sites as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, kids have a wide forum to discuss their views and stay in touch with each other.  My positive parenting experience includes giving my kids the facts about proper on line behavior. This includes being careful about what is posted at these sites. They must understand that once it’s out there, it’s out there for the world to see.

20% of all teen users are victims of bullying. There has also been a rise in the number of social predators.  I encourage my kids to be aware when these things happen and to tell me or another adult if they feel they have become victimized.

“Just the facts ma’am” is a phrase that has been associated with one of the most popular shows on television.  Over time we have come to realize that these facts are important tools in helping our kids to become useful members of society.





  • This also applies to the edlerly and busybodies who either have no children or long forgotten what it’s like to have young children as they have answers to all of your parenting problems and unruly kids. Recently during a trip to the store one of my kid’s shoelace came undone, unbeknownst to kid or myself, and unfortunately, it got caught in an escalator. An edlerly woman kindly and passive aggressively asked aloud, why can’t people tie their kids’ shoes?!?! you know rather than seeing if a scared young child and harried mom were ok. I should’ve chucked my kid’s shoe at her for her to tie since clearly she has epic and uber shoe tying skills rendering them impossible to come undone, even accidentally.

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