"Things are harder for children than they have to be now," claims writer Marie Winn. But in spite of difficulties, she believes the situation could improve. Some of her ideas:

* "We could adopt the Scandinavian system of regular and extremely well-run day-care centers attached to mother's jobs. Mothers could then have lunch with their kids and relate with them on and off during the work day."

* "Two-career families could work things out better than they are doing. Something has to give when both parents work, and for us it was our social life. We had a family-centered social life, always taking our kids with us. But this means you have to have kids who are a pleasure to be with. If you haven't developed a disciplined relationship with your kids, you will not want to spend time with them. You will want to get rid of them."

* "Why can't we provide some financial support for young families, an allowance, as they do in Europe? Society would end up saving money because in the long run this would lessen delinquency and other problems."

* "Let your kids have time to play. Children used to play until puberty. But to play, you need empty time, not constant lessons as so many kids have now. At the heart of many overbooked kids' schedules is parental guilt."

* "Don't be fooled by your kids seeming adultishness, feeling that therefore they can share in your adult problems. They are still children. No matter how difficult your life, be more protective of your kids. Don't make them share your burdens."

* "No matter how much kids may squawk at your being overprotective, they will probably end up being happy about it. This was the case with my own children. Structure makes it easier for kids to grow up. But be prepared to face your kids' anger."

* "When your children tell you all the other kids do this, call the other parents and find out. Often you will find that the other parents share your concern about a particular topic. Your kids will get upset when you call another parent, but do it anyway. It's your duty as the adult to oversee your children."