Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Seen and not heard": Is it due for a parenting comeback?

Research shows that nearly 70 percent of Americans believe that people are ruder now than they were 20 or 30 years ago, and that children are among the worst offenders.

A few years ago, the conservative child psychologist John Rosemond denounced in his syndicated column the increasing presence of "disruptive urchins" who "obviously have yet to have been taught the basic rudiments of public behavior."

According to Harvard University psychologist Dan Kindlon, most parents, would like their children to be polite, considerate and well behaved. But they're too tired, worn down by work and personally needy to take up the task of teaching them proper behavior at home.

Educators feel helpless, too. Nearly 8 in 10 teachers, according to a Public Agenda report, said their students were quick to remind them that they had rights or that their parents could sue if they were too harshly disciplined. More than half said they ended up being soft on discipline "because they can't count on parents or schools to support them."

Are we raising a generation of "kids gone wild"? Is there anything we can do about youngsters who belong to someone else? Leslie Pepper of Family Circle magazine explores the issue in an article about disciplining other people's kids.

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