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Another Look at Misbehaving Kids

August 01, 2004

I applaud Martin Booe for his excellent article on children who know no boundaries ("Generation Me-Me-Me," July 11). As a first-grade teacher, I would like to urge parents who choose to ignore this situation to contemplate the effect it has on youngsters entering school. Picture a classroom with 20 such children, each of whom expects undivided attention and the freedom to romp, shout and grab things as he/she chooses. Add to this the accelerated demands of our state curriculum, and you can understand how essential it is that children learn to follow directions and respect rules at home, years before they begin their formal education. Responsible parenting includes setting good examples and establishing limits.

Susan C. Stockhammer

Los Angeles

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If Booe extended his anecdotal study beyond his life of "Me-Me-Me" privilege, he would find innumerable well-behaved children of working parents. Instead, Booe focuses on kids who misbehave in coffeehouses, at Hollywood cocktail parties, at Napa Valley barbecues and on airline flights to Hawaii. What Booe misses are the children most of us encounter daily, those who obediently listen to their parents on buses, in restaurants, at Dodger games. Booe's grim take on the state of child-rearing speaks more to his friends and his world than to the realities of our daily lives.

Damon Willick

Culver City

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I am appalled to see young children brought to expensive restaurants and to theaters showing R-rated films. There is an economic factor at play: If I am spending $20 to take someone to the movies, or $100-plus for a nice dinner, then shouldn't I be allowed to enjoy these things in peace? Instead, we should expect childhood tantrums in Target and Toys R Us stores, along with any restaurants that provide crayons for their patrons.

John Charles Burdick

Los Angeles

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I think the demise of our rights as adults began with the phrase "kids are people too." That's when the word "no" morphed into the act of endless parent/child debate and negotiation. Kids are not people too; they are walking, talking mini-disasters waiting to happen. However, there is hope. I recently saw signs that my 13-year-old is entering the early stages of turning human.

Pamela Kemalyan

Glendale

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