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Summary: Teens Look To Parents To Be  Role Models in distinguishing Right from Wrong

Fifty-four percent of teens consider one of their parents to be their role model.

In a recent survey conducted by Junior Achievement International, teenagers between the ages of 12 & 17 years old were asked if they were ethically ready to enter the workforce. The telephone survey contacted a national sample of 750 teens, (375 males and 375 males), and eighty percent of teens agreed they were ready but 38 percent stated that, sometimes, it is acceptable to break the rules to succeed. Teens were also asked who their role model was, and the survey revealed that, while some teens turn towards their friends for role models, and some claimed not to have a role model at all, over half (54%) cited their parents.
The survey results raised concerns in several levels. One of the most important concerns points to a “troubling incongruence between the degree to which teens feel ethically prepared to enter the workforce and the unethical behaviors in which they engage.” Additionally, with such a large number of teens looking to their parents for guidance and example, parents need to be aware that they have a very significant impact on their teen’s life. “Teens need training in ethical decision making, practical tools and role models that help them understand not only how to make the right choices, but how those choices will impact their personal success…” said Ainar Aijala, chairman of Junior Achievement Worldwide.1

1 Poll: Most Teens Think They Can Make Ethical Business Decisions, Yet Many Also Believe it is Okay to Lie and Cheat, Junior Achievement, 2009

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