The front-page article on the results of a survey of children of working parents reported that children feel bad for their parents because of the stress they are under ["For Working Parents, Mixed News at Home," Sept. 27]. The real news, however, was on Page A8 in a little graphic: The top wish children have for both their parents is that they would make more money. If children think earning more money would reduce their parents' stress, they have gotten this notion from their parents.

The myth that both parents need to work because times are harder now than 30 years ago is laughable. Our standard of living is inflated. A one-TV, one-telephone, 1 1/2-bath house such as the one my four siblings and I grew up in would be unacceptable to most families today. Although many of the children surveyed were from low-income families, I also am aware of my contemporaries, and I know that the conversations about needing to work and making ends meet are occurring around kitchen tables overlooking granite counter tops in modern homes with soaring foyers and a Lexus in the garage, resting on a half-acre in McLean or Bethesda.

Is the book "Ask the Children" a guilt-buster, as Janet Parshall of the Family Research Council put it? Yes, and a shameless one too. There's something a little pathetic about asking our children if we're doing the right thing. We're the parents; they won't know if what we did was okay until they're pouring their hearts out to a therapist 15 years from now.

Besides, I don't know which parents would find comfort in the knowledge that, although they work long hours, their kids think they have just enough time with them, thanks very much.


Silver Spring