Parental spies or active participants in kids' lives?

Regarding "New era of snooping parents" (Feb. 21): It's interesting that the parents profiled seem to equate the concept of "snooping" with "involvement." No mention was made of what type of involvement these parents have in their children's lives. Snooping on kids is a whole lot easier and less time-consuming than actually being involved with their activities and interests.

I have three children, ages 22, 12, and 9. I have spent as much time with them and their activities as I have spent with my job. It would be nice to see an article about parents who make sacrifices to be involved in their kids' lives.
Lee B. Zimmer
St. Louis

I am a 32-year-old mom of a 12-year-old. My parents grew up in the '60s and were what was considered "square." I, however, started smoking and drinking at age 13. By 10th grade I, as well as most of my beach buddies, had experimented with marijuana. And my parents had no idea.

My daughter knows about my past and she knows my actions were wrong. Being open with your kids is not saying it's OK to break the law - it's telling them you know what to look for and they are less likely to get away with things. If you instill values in your children and talk to them, no matter how uncomfortable the topic, your kids will have a good head on their shoulders. Ask them daily "who, what, and where" about everything, and they will talk to you.
Kari Shafer
Tacoma, Wash.

Of course I spied on my children. Parents have a responsibility to know what's going on in the lives of their kids to control and manage them without being overbearing.

In my house, there were no confrontations. When I found cigarettes in their room, a few days later we had a casual kitchen conversation about the negatives of smoking, ending with my saying, "I'm so glad you kids don't smoke." The cigarettes disappeared.

I made plenty of mistakes, but I can guarantee there were no guns, or unread diaries in my house. Most teens don't have the life experience to be unsupervised. It's no different from sitting by the pool while your kids swim - who wouldn't watch them?

Today, my daughter is stricter than I was with her own boys and they are happy and doing very well.
Ellie Wiede
Los Angeles

Who holds the environmental reins?

Regarding "Manifest energy destiny" (Feb. 19, Editorial): Terrorism has reinforced the notion that access to and the benefit and conservation of energy is the life story of every living being. And, as your editorial addresses, there is much we can do to innovate the mindset of energy consumption - even while demand for energy grows with the population.

Wise use of energy is as much a part of conservation as product innovation. The combination of both concepts should be a powerful response to the current energy dilemma. Sustainable energy solutions are key.
J. Courtenay Heater
Bainbridge Island, Wash.

A timely step to take would be to require the auto industry to revise its standards for fuel efficiency. This was required by our federal government when American cars were getting poor mileage and Japan, with more efficient fuel standards, was increasing sales.

Raising fuel-efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon over the next 10 years would save 15 times the oil that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge might produce over the next 50 years.
Mary Elizabeth Williams
Highlands Ranch, Colo.

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