Book Excerpt: It Takes a Parent

Betsy Hart, mother of four and nationally syndicated conservative columnist, sees how horribly behaved today's children and blames the culture of "pushover parenting." Parents are creating monsters by catering to their children's every whim and by allowing kids to make important decisions that really fall under parents' jurisdiction. Hart wonders how these "it's all about me" children will ever experience true joy, and worried about their hearts. She also tells you how to get your child back under control.

You can read an excerpt of It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting Our Kids--and What to Do About It below:

Kids Gone Wild

A 2003 Time magazine article asked the question "Does Kindergarten Need Cops?" Apparently, the answer is yes. Time reported that a first-grader in Fort Worth, Texas, was asked to put a toy away. Instead, she began to scream. "Told to calm down, she knocked over her desk and crawled under the teacher's desk, kicking it and dumping out the contents of the drawers. Then things really began to deteriorate. Still shrieking, the child stood up and began hurling books at her terrified classmates, who had to be ushered from the room to safety."

"Just a bad day at school?" Time asked rhetorically. "More like a bad season. The desk-dumping incident followed scores of other outrageous acts by some of the youngest Fort Worth students at schools across the district."

A little one shouting "Shut up, bitch" at a teacher, the biting of another teacher by a kindergartner—so hard it left marks—and a six-year-old who became completely hysterical, took off his clothes, and threw them at the school psychologist are among the highlights.

These are not deeply troubled kids from dysfunctional homes, either. These are normal, healthy kids, many from middle-class, two-parent families, who have not been found to be emotionally disturbed.

Michael Parker is the program director for psychological services at the Fort Worth Independent School District, which serves eighty thousand students. He told Time that he's clearly seeing an increase in aggressive behavior from very young children. "We're talking about serious talking back to teachers, profanity, even biting, kicking, and hitting adults, and we're seeing it in five-year-olds."

Houston, we have a problem.

The word "Columbine," the name of the Littleton, Colorado, high school where two boys from upper-middle-class families went on a shooting spree that resulted in thirteen fatalities and the boys' suicides, sends shivers down our collective spines. What happened to those kids? Well, all we really know is that something went terribly wrong a long time before they hit high school.

In 2004, the Partnership for Children, a local child-advocacy group in Fort Worth, released the results of a survey of local elementary schools, child-care centers, and pediatricians. The findings, according to Time: almost all of the thirty-nine schools responding reported that kindergartners today have more emotional and behavioral problems than were seen just five years ago. More than half of the day-care centers said incidents of rage and anger had increased over the previous three years.

And it isn't just something in the Texas water.

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