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Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

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Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

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Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

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Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

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Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

Just noticed this:

 

 

 

2010 Secret Garden Wall Calendar 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's not the same thing, but I love the idea of secret gardens.

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Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

I thought it would be fun to feature this class book as one of our October features. I've read this book several times -- am I correct in thinking some of you have read it, too?

 

Here's more about it, and several related links:

 

http://www.online-literature.com/burnett/

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_Garden

 

 

 

 

 

Frances Hodgson BurnettCover of a 1911 publication of The Secret Garden

 

 

  • Chapter 1 CHAPTER I THERE IS NO ONE LEFT
  • Chapter 2 CHAPTER II MISTRESS MARY QUITE CONTRARY
  • Chapter 3 CHAPTER III ACROSS THE MOOR
  • Chapter 4 CHAPTER IV MARTHA
  • Chapter 5 CHAPTER V THE CRY IN THE CORRIDOR
  • Chapter 6 CHAPTER VI "THERE WAS SOME ONE CRYING--THERE WAS!"
  • Chapter 7 CHAPTER VII THE KEY TO THE GARDEN
  • Chapter 8 CHAPTER VIII THE ROBIN WHO SHOWED THE WAY
  • Chapter 9 CHAPTER IX THE STRANGEST HOUSE ANY ONE EVER LIVED IN
  • Chapter 10 CHAPTER X DICKON
  • Chapter 11 CHAPTER XI THE NEST OF THE MISSEL THRUSH
  • Chapter 12 CHAPTER XII "MIGHT I HAVE A BIT OF EARTH?"
  • Chapter 13 CHAPTER XIII "I AM COLIN"
  • Chapter 14 CHAPTER XIV A YOUNG RAJAH
  • Chapter 15 CHAPTER XV NEST BUILDING
  • Chapter 16 CHAPTER XVI "I WON'T!" SAID MARY
  • Chapter 17 CHAPTER XVII A TANTRUM
  • Chapter 18 CHAPTER XVIII "THA' MUNNOT WASTE NO TIME"
  • Chapter 19 CHAPTER XIX "IT HAS COME!"
  • Chapter 20 CHAPTER XX "I SHALL LIVE FOREVER--AND EVER--AND EVER!"
  • Chapter 21 CHAPTER XXI BEN WEATHERSTAFF
  • Chapter 22 CHAPTER XXII WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN
  • Chapter 23 CHAPTER XXIII MAGIC
  • Chapter 24 CHAPTER XXIV "LET THEM LAUGH"
  • Chapter 25 CHAPTER XXV THE CURTAIN
  • Chapter 26 CHAPTER XXVI "IT'S MOTHER!"
  • Chapter 27 CHAPTER XXVII IN THE GARDEN
  •  

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    Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

     

    Here is a reader's guide from Penguin Books:

    http://us.penguingroup.com/static/rguides/us/secret_garden.html

     

    INTRODUCTION

    Mary Lennox has no one left in the world when she arrives at Misselthwaite Manor, her mysterious uncle's enormous, drafty mansion looming on the edge of the moors. A cholera epidemic has ravaged the Indian village in which she was born, killing both her parents and the "Ayah," or Indian servant, who cared for her. Not that being alone is new to her. Her socialite mother had no time between parties for Mary, and her father was both too ill and too occupied by his work to raise his daughter. Not long after coming to live with her uncle, Mr. Craven, Mary discovers a walled garden, neglected and in ruins.


    Soon she meets her servant Martha's brother Dickon, a robust country boy nourished both by his mother's love and by the natural surroundings of the countryside; and her tyrannical cousin Colin, whose mother died giving birth to him. So traumatized was Mr. Craven by the sudden death of his beloved wife that he effectively abandoned the infant Colin and buried the keys to the garden that she adored. His son has grown into a self-loathing hypochondriacal child whose tantrums strike fear into the hearts of servants. The lush garden is now overgrown and all are forbidden to enter it. No one can even remember where the door is, until a robin leads Mary to its hidden key. It is in the "secret garden," and with the help of Dickon, that Mary and Colin find the path to physical and spiritual health. Along the way the three children discover that in their imaginationscalled "magic" by Colinis the power to transform lives.


    While The Secret Garden is an exquisite children's story, its timeless themes, precisely drawn characters, and taut narrative make it worthy of the serious discussion due any classic novel. It is a tale of redemption, rich with biblical symbolism and mythical associations. In Mr. Craven, his stern brother, and Mary's parents, readers have found evidence of a fallen adult world. Consequently, Mary and Colin are physically and spiritually malnourished, and, in the words of Burnett, down-right rude. Mr. Craven's redemption at the hands of Colin and his niece ensures the return of good rule to the ancient, gloomy house and of health to the children. Dickonconstantly surrounded by fox, lamb, and birdevokes St. Francis or Pan. His mother, Mrs. Sowerby, a plain-speaking Yorkshire woman, resembles the archetypal earth mother and embodies an ancient folk wisdom seen neither in Craven nor in Mary's deceased parents. Invoking traditional nature myths, Burnett aligns the spiritual growth of Mary and Colin with the seasons.


    Mary arrives at Misselthwaite in winter a dour and unhealthy child. She begins her gardening in the spring, and as crocuses and daffodils push up through the warming earth, her body begins to bloom and her manners to soften. Summer sees the complete regeneration of both Mary and Colin, and by the time Craven returns to Misselthwaite in autumn, the children are harvesting the fruits of their laborhealth and happiness. Finally, the overarching symbol of the book is the secret garden, a lost paradise of love and happinessa version, perhaps, of the Garden of Eden, now reclaimed and rejuvenated.

    Throughout The Secret Garden, Burnett seamlessly intertwines the elements of her craft, moving easily between the teasing narrative and dialogue that speaks to a child and the strands of dramatic development, complex characters, theme, and symbolism. Indeed, it is this extraordinary balance that makes

    The Secret Garden not just "one of the most original and brilliant children's books of this century," as Alison Lurie says in her introduction to the Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition, but also an enduring novel of ideas.

     

    ABOUT FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT

    Frances Hodgson BurnettFrances Eliza Hodgson was born on November 24, 1849, in Manchester, England, the third of Edwin Hodgson's and Eliza Boond's five children. Her father ran a prosperous firm which specialized in the trade of decorative arts for the interiors of houses. At the time, Manchester was experiencing a textile boom which infused the town with a rising middle-class, and because these families were erecting magnificent houses, Hodgson's merchandise was in demand. The prosperity of the Hodgson family was cut short in 1854 when Edwin suffered a stroke.


    Even more devastating to the family fortune was the American Civil War, which caused a cessation of cotton shipments from Southern plantations, crippling Manchester's economy. Eliza Hodgson decided to emigrate to America, and in 1865, when Burnett was sixteen, the family settled in a small town about twenty-five miles from Knoxville, Tennessee. This move would prove instrumental in Burnett's development as a writer. Although she had always been obsessed with storytelling and often amused her schoolmates by acting out tales of adventure and romance, the financial strain of the emigration caused her to turn to writing as a means of supplementing the family's income. The move from industrial England to rural America was for the family a journey to the green, natural world that would become a central theme in many of Burnett's later works, including The Secret Garden.

    Burnett's first published story, "Miss Carruthers' Engagement," appeared in a magazine called Godey's Lady's Book in 1868. After the death of her mother in 1872, the family became increasingly dependent on her writing income. She accelerated her career as a popular writer and sold stories to many magazines. In September of 1873 she married Swann Burnett, a doctor from Tennessee who was preparing to specialize in the treatment of the eye and ear. He wished to further his specialty by studying in Europe, and Burnett financed his wish, once again becoming responsible for the bulk of her family's income. In 1874, she gave birth to her son Lionel and began work on her first major novel, The Lass o' Lowries.


    The critical response was encouraging, and many reviews compared Burnett's work to that of Charlotte Brontë and Henry James. In 1879 she published her novel Haworth, her first attempt at serious fiction. Later that same year, one of her first children's stories appeared in St. Nicholas, a magazine in which she would publish for years to come. It is at this time that Burnett, who was constantly battling illness, acquainted herself with the philosophies of Spiritualism, Theosophy, Mind Healing, and Christian Science. These philosophies' ideas about the healing powers of the mind became a crucial motif in much of her writing, most notably in A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, and The Lost Prince.


    In 1886 Little Lord Fauntleroy, the book that transformed Burnett's life, was published. It became a runaway bestseller in America and England. While the success of the book branded Burnett a popular and romantic writer rather than a serious artist, it provided her with enough income to free her from an unhappy marriage and allow her to travel through Europe. In 1890 Burnett's first son Lionel was diagnosed with consumption and died that same year. By 1898, Burnett and Swann divorced by mutual consent, and she leased a country house in England where she immersed herself in her passion for gardening. The estate was surrounded by several walled gardens, one of which, a rose garden, served as her outdoor workroom. It was here that the idea of The Secret Garden was born.

    Over the course of her life, Burnett wrote more than forty books, for both adults and children. While her adult novels are considered to be quite sentimental, her children's books have withstood the fickleness of literary fashions. The Secret Garden, the story of how Mary Lennox and her friends find independence as they tend their garden, has been described as one of the most satisfying children's books ever written. Frances Hodgson Burnett died of congestive heart failure on October 29, 1924.

     

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    Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

    Here are reader questions from Penguin:

     

     

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

    1.     Mary and Colin are often described as being unpleasant and rude. Martha, in fact, says Mary is "as tyrannical as a pig" and that Colin is the "worst young newt as ever was." Why are both of these children so ill-tempered? Whom does Burnett hold responsible for their behaviorthemselves or their parents? How does this fit into one of the larger themes of the novel, that of the "fallen world of adults"? 
     

    2.     Why does Mary respond so well to Martha? What characteristics of Martha's personality are responsible for awakening the gentleness hidden in Mary? Compare Martha's treatment of Mary to Mary's treatment of Colin. Does it have the same effect on Colin as it does on Mary? 
     

    3.     Upon Mary's first encounter with Dickon, Burnett describes the boy in this way: "His speech was so quick and easy. It sounded as if he liked her and was not the least afraid she would not like him, though he was a common moor boy, in patched clothes and with a funny face and a rough, rusty-red head. As she came closer to him she noticed that there was a clean fresh scent of heather and grass and leaves about him, almost as if he were made of them." What is significant about this passage? Are there any particular motifs that seem to be connected specifically to Dickon? 
     

    4.     Compare Dickon's upbringing with Mary's and Colin's. How is it different? Is it important, or just incidental, that Dickon is a "common moor boy" rather than a member of the "privileged class"? 
     

    5.     Could Mary and Colin have found the path to spiritual and physical healing without Dickon? 
     

    6.     Is Colin's deceased mother's spirit present in the book? Where and when do you sense it the most? Who does she employ as her "agents" of goodwill in the book? 
     

    7.     Misselthwaite Manor is a house of masculine rule, whether it be Mr. Craven's or Colin's rule. The garden, however, is a place of fertility and regrowth. This type of symbolism structures the novel. Where else is this structure manifested in the novel? 
     

    8.     In its theme of the mind's potential for regeneration, The Secret Garden has often been considered a tribute to the "New Thought" movement, which included ideas of Christian Science and Theosophy. How do you feel about this? Do you think that the "magic" employed by Colin was as crucial to his healing as was communion with nature and other living things? 
     

    9.     Discuss the regionalist aspects of the novel, such as the Yorkshire dialects. How do they contribute to the overarching themes of The Secret Garden? 
     

    10.   In your opinion, does Mr. Craven, after subjecting his son to years of neglect, deserve redemption? 
     

    11.   Which narrative features were employed by the author to make The Secret Garden speak to children? Why do you think this novel appeals to an adult audience as well? What makes it a classic?

     

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    Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

    I love THE SECRET GARDEN, and this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay has always reminded me of it, in a way. It's called THE LITTLE GHOST:

     

    I knew her for a little ghost
       That in my garden walked;
    The wall is high—higher than most—
       And the green gate was locked.
    
    And yet I did not think of that
       Till after she was gone—
    I knew her by the broad white hat,
       All ruffled, she had on.
    
    By the dear ruffles round her feet,
       By her small hands that hung
    In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
       Her gown's white folds among.
    
    I watched to see if she would stay,
       What she would do—and oh!
    She looked as if she liked the way
       I let my garden grow!
    
    She bent above my favourite mint
       With conscious garden grace,
    She smiled and smiled—there was no hint
       Of sadness in her face.
    
    She held her gown on either side
       To let her slippers show,
    And up the walk she went with pride,
       The way great ladies go.
    
    And where the wall is built in new
       And is of ivy bare
    She paused—then opened and passed through
       A gate that once was there.

     

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    Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

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    Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

    I know some of you have read this book by now. Anyone feel like talking about it? I think this is a wonderful book, both for kids (especially to read aloud to kids) and for adults.

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    Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN


    becke_davis wrote:

    I know some of you have read this book by now. Anyone feel like talking about it? I think this is a wonderful book, both for kids (especially to read aloud to kids) and for adults.


     

    Becke, yes, I did read this book, but I see that no one is discussing it.  You offered many questions, and things to think about....we need to break it down a bit.  Right know, this information is a tad overwhelming for me, I'm not sure where to start.  I'll have to print out those questions, and try to see if I can take it step by step...  I generally don't approach a book discussion as a whole book.  Of course, after I read this book, I've read others in the meantime...I hope I can remember the details of this book.  Give me a moment to think on this....old age doesn't help matters, either... :smileyhappy:

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    Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

    Thanks for posting, Kathy.

     

    First of all, since you just read this, what age group do you think it is best suited for? I remember reading it as a child and enjoying it, but I know a lot of adults who love it, too. Someone asked me how young a child I thought it was suited for, and I found it hard to say. I think it depends on the child -- what do you think?

     

    Before we break it down, do you have any first impressions?

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    Re: Featured Book for October: THE SECRET GARDEN

    I'll post the publishers' suggested book club questions, or if you prefer, we can come up with our own:

     

    1.     Mary and Colin are often described as being unpleasant and rude. Martha, in fact, says Mary is "as tyrannical as a pig" and that Colin is the "worst young newt as ever was." Why are both of these children so ill-tempered? Whom does Burnett hold responsible for their behaviorthemselves or their parents? How does this fit into one of the larger themes of the novel, that of the "fallen world of adults"? 

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    THE SECRET GARDEN - First Impressions


    becke_davis wrote:

    Thanks for posting, Kathy.

     

    First of all, since you just read this, what age group do you think it is best suited for? I remember reading it as a child and enjoying it, but I know a lot of adults who love it, too. Someone asked me how young a child I thought it was suited for, and I found it hard to say. I think it depends on the child -- what do you think?

     

    Before we break it down, do you have any first impressions?


    Good question!  Age appropriate...something I thought about, all through my reading of this book.  I think it depends on the child, too.  They do have to be in command of the English language, first.  Because of the use of the regional dialect, it could be a bit of a trial for some children to read.  Getting your tongue wrapped around those words, and understand them.  It could be a book to read to a child, though.

     

    I've read all of James Herriot's books, so it wasn't a stretch for me, in language.  I enjoy this departure in language, from contemporary literature.  I don't think the story would be too difficult to understand, for children.  It's fun to watch the transformation of these characters.  And something to talk about with the child, as you read it.  It was definately a heart warming read.  I enjoyed it very much.

     

     

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    Re: THE SECRET GARDEN - First Impressions

     


    KathyS wrote:

    becke_davis wrote:

    Thanks for posting, Kathy.

     

    First of all, since you just read this, what age group do you think it is best suited for? I remember reading it as a child and enjoying it, but I know a lot of adults who love it, too. Someone asked me how young a child I thought it was suited for, and I found it hard to say. I think it depends on the child -- what do you think?

     

    Before we break it down, do you have any first impressions?


    Good question!  Age appropriate...something I thought about, all through my reading of this book.  I think it depends on the child, too.  They do have to be in command of the English language, first.  Because of the use of the regional dialect, it could be a bit of a trial for some children to read.  Getting your tongue wrapped around those words, and understand them.  It could be a book to read to a child, though.

     

    I've read all of James Herriot's books, so it wasn't a stretch for me, in language.  I enjoy this departure in language, from contemporary literature.  I don't think the story would be too difficult to understand, for children.  It's fun to watch the transformation of these characters.  And something to talk about with the child, as you read it.  It was definately a heart warming read.  I enjoyed it very much.

     

     


     

    I was wondering if parts of it would be scary for kids, and then I remembered -- duh! -- I loved to be scared when I was young, that's why I got hooked on Nancy Drew! And I loved books about self-sufficient children, who could do things by themselves. I think that was part of the appeal of this book. And, as to the scare factor, when I think of Harry Potter, and Goosebumps and the books kids read today, I think most modern kids would think this was good, but kind of tame.

     

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    Re: THE SECRET GARDEN - First Impressions

    KathyS wrote:

    becke_davis wrote:

    Thanks for posting, Kathy.

     

    First of all, since you just read this, what age group do you think it is best suited for? I remember reading it as a child and enjoying it, but I know a lot of adults who love it, too. Someone asked me how young a child I thought it was suited for, and I found it hard to say. I think it depends on the child -- what do you think?

     

    Before we break it down, do you have any first impressions?


    Good question!  Age appropriate...something I thought about, all through my reading of this book.  I think it depends on the child, too.  They do have to be in command of the English language, first.  Because of the use of the regional dialect, it could be a bit of a trial for some children to read.  Getting your tongue wrapped around those words, and understand them.  It could be a book to read to a child, though.

     

    I've read all of James Herriot's books, so it wasn't a stretch for me, in language.  I enjoy this departure in language, from contemporary literature.  I don't think the story would be too difficult to understand, for children.  It's fun to watch the transformation of these characters.  And something to talk about with the child, as you read it.  It was definitely a heart warming read.  I enjoyed it very much.

      


     

    becke_davis wrote:

    I was wondering if parts of it would be scary for kids, and then I remembered -- duh! -- I loved to be scared when I was young, that's why I got hooked on Nancy Drew! And I loved books about self-sufficient children, who could do things by themselves. I think that was part of the appeal of this book. And, as to the scare factor, when I think of Harry Potter, and Goosebumps and the books kids read today, I think most modern kids would think this was good, but kind of tame. 


    This book has not been out of print for close to a hundred years!  I think that's amazing!  It's writing is more of a classic writing, period piece, and I think (assume) now, it's probably read more by adults, than children.  Harry Potter is written in a more contemporary language...even with all of the strange names that those characters and places are given...and some are VERY scary.  KIds usually like scary stuff....using discretion, according to age. 

     

    I didn't find TSG scary, although, having parents die of a deadly decease, is not a pleasant thought....Angry people, and strange places and countries, where these kids lived....may be intellectually hard to understand.   These are more like real people/characters than the fantasies of Harry Potter.  I thought TSG had lots of investigative adventures and secrets, though, which are fun to read about. 

     

    There's a definite personal psychology applied to this writing by this author,...in how she applied her own feelings to these characters.  In the Introduction, it says:  ".....in that the main characters already possess adequate material wealth......The riches they lack and eventually recover are physical, emotional, and spiritual.....[TSG] reflects Frances Hodgson Burnett's recognition that wealth and worldly success are not enough and echoes her own search for spiritual healing.....[and] she also shows a new willingness to explore painful emotions and to present child heroes whose behavior is often unlovable."

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    THE SECRET GARDEN - Mary and Colin


    becke_davis wrote:

    I'll post the publishers' suggested book club questions, or if you prefer, we can come up with our own:

     

    1.     Mary and Colin are often described as being unpleasant and rude. Martha, in fact, says Mary is "as tyrannical as a pig" and that Colin is the "worst young newt as ever was." Why are both of these children so ill-tempered? Whom does Burnett hold responsible for their behaviorthemselves or their parents? How does this fit into one of the larger themes of the novel, that of the "fallen world of adults"? 


    The children, Mary and Colin....ill-tempered?  These are two unusually raised children.  I would think it hard to compare these children to current ones, but they still exist, I'm sure.

     

    Mary was, basically, raised (until she came to live with her uncle) by servants in India.  She treated them the way they were meant to be treated, slaves to the class that Mary was born into.  What Mary wanted, Mary got.  The unfortunate thing is, Mary was never privileged to have any parental guidance, and was never around anyone to teach her what is meant to be a child.  In this case, manners, of all kinds, were lacking, as well as social graces...she didn't know how to act around other people, let alone other children.  Her servants were not her equal, as she was raised, and saw it.

     

    I can understand why she was considered ill tempered.  When she came into a household that didn't see her points of view, and she didn't see theirs.  They didn't understand her, at all, and when this happens, there are hard lesions to be learned...and anger does erupt, when situations, and people, have to work at understanding.  Mary was stubborn, and change wasn't in her, to see as an option....at least at first.

     

    Colin was also basically raised in an environment that didn't have parental guidance.  He was treated as if he didn't have a thought in his head, an invalid that was going to stay an invalid, and die an invalid.  Not just his body was being stunted, but his brain, as well.  He said jump, and everyone around him jumped.  His father was never home, and the servants gave him whatever he wanted.  Not to upset him...father's orders.

     

    These two children, neither of which had a strong hand to guide them, and teach them how to act in the world around them.  They lived in a world that was isolated.  Not a healthy one, to be sure!  Children can't be left to their own devices, they end up leaning how to manipulate, scheme, and lie to get what they want....a fantasy world.  In the case of these two children, that fantasy world started to collapse, and a new one unfolded....when Mary came to live in this big house, Misselthwaite

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    Re: THE SECRET GARDEN - Mary and Colin

    I wonder if they were considered ill-tempered compared to other children of the time. Compared to my kids, they were almost angelic!

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    Re: THE SECRET GARDEN - Mary and Colin


    becke_davis wrote:

    I wonder if they were considered ill-tempered compared to other children of the time. Compared to my kids, they were almost angelic!


     

    Becke, how could they be compared....?  They weren't raised like normal kids were, even in that period of time.  Sure, some had governesses, etc., but they probably didn't have parents that ignored them like the one's that ignored Mary and Colin...these parents didn't want to have anything to do with their kids...they resented them for being born!  No love.  No hugs.  No goodnight kiss.  No attention, unless it was negative attention, at all. 

     

    I don't know your kids, but I certainly wouldn't compare either yours, or mine, to these kids.  Unless you concider being spoiled brats as comparing.  I'm not talking about that.  I'm talking about them having to deal with unknowns, and inappropriate give and take reactions between child and adult.  They had to learn all of this.

     

    And having to learn how to act, to change,  to what they think was their fault/problem, makes one ill-tempered.  They'll fight you tooth and nail, until the lesson is learned.  It's like telling a kid it's all right to go out and play, and not having to do their homework...then one day you say...Hey, get your homework done first....they'll balk, they'll stomp their feet, they'll tell you no...no, it's not fair...whatever, maybe even kick you in the shins!  Children being raised one way, then having to change...nope...doesn't come easy.