"These kids are so extremely stressed from the academic load they're carrying and how cloistered they are and how they have
to live under the watchful eye of their parents," Dr. Mogel said, "they have no kid space."
Paradoxically, she said, parental over-involvement in their children's lives today often hides a very basic kind of indifference
to their children's real need, simply to be kids. "There are all these blurry boundaries, she said. "They need to do fifth-grade-level
math in third grade and have every pleasure and indulgence of adulthood in childhood and they act like kids and we get mad."
If stress and strain, self-centeredness and competition are the pathogens underlying the rash of rudeness perceived to be
endemic among children in America today, then the cure, some experts said, has to be systemic and not topical. Stop blaming
the children, they said. Stop focusing on the surface level behavior and start curing instead the social, educational and
parental ills fhat feed it.
This may mean less "quality" time with children and more time getting them to do things they don't want to do, like sitting
for meals, making polite conversation, and - Madonna was right - picking clothes up off the floor."
Writer Judith Warner is the author, most recently, of "Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety. "She is also the
host of "The Judith Warner Show" on XM satellite radio.
Jan Evans, BS, AMS, an experienced Montessori educator, offers classes and workshops in Conscious Parenting. Please contact
her at Over the Rainbow Services in Ridgefield, CT, at (203) 431-7759 if you are interested in attending a class or sponsoring
a lecture at your school or educational facility.