1. Distrubing: that parents are now so invested in their children's lives and trust them so little that they justify (and are encouraged to do so) parental snooping into the private places of a kid's life. Not just 8 year olds, but any 'child' of any age that lives under their roof. Backpacks, books (shake the pages), letters, email, twitter and facebook pages, anything and everything that their teen aged kids might touch is examined and considered. I read one woman's comments about how she snoops on Facebook and if she sees any kind of activity she doesn't approve of, she confronts her daughter with it. If kids are anything like we were, after a few turns around the dining room table over this, they shut down, go underground, get clever. Put up a dummy facebook page to satisfy mom, (and the 'mom" part gets me too. What ever happened to 'mothers"?) and then go off and do what they were going to do anyway. Having been through this kind of scrutiny (although mine was limited to letters being read, friends' parents being grilled, and diaries being examined) myself, I can well understand that feeling of violation.
Parents, by being that paranoid, most effectively shut down any communication between them and the kids. Sad. I was traveling 'underground' by the time I was fifteen, and learned to stay there, emotionally, mentally, when it came to personal difficulties. To this day I don't know how many letters of mine (in AND out) my mother read, destroyed, or saved for future reference. I burnt the diary. To this day I have been unable to keep another one.
2. Had the car inspected yesterday, and while I was waiting for the (yay) good news, I was grazing a woman's magazine. In it was a chirpy article about how to 'motivate' your kids for going back to school and one of the things suggested was to make sure they kept up with their 'household chores" such as keeping their rooms clean, and 'taking out the trash" based on the premise that a child who regularly takes out the garbage (and this was actually stated) as part of his chores will be a better, more responsible adult. ExCUSE me?
Any kid with a bit of brain knows he gets the icky jobs around the house because he's the only one who can be bullied into doing stuff no one else wants to do. Chores? I never had chores, but I had enough to do helping out, and taking out trash belonged to whomever was in front of it at the time. Asked my husband, and he said the same thing. He never had "chores" that only he did, and we both grew up to be reasonably responsible adults.