Picks and Pans Review: Miss Manners'guide to Rearing Perfect Children

updated 12/17/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/17/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Judith Martin

This is the second volume of Manners' columns, some new and some written for her newspaper syndicate. The questions and answers have been arranged under such headings as Theory and Skills, The Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten, Elementary, Secondary—all the way up through Postgraduate and a section called Extra Credit. Martin writes, "A good parent owes it to a child to teach manners as an interesting and useful skill," because otherwise peer pressure standards will "fill any vacancy left by lackadaisical adults." The joy of Martin's advice stems mostly from her gentle humor and common sense: "Do you have any suggestions for amusing children during school vacations, when the mother (me) does not have time off from her household chores?" Miss Manners replies, "Small children may be persuaded that being allowed to help with household chores is a tremendous treat. Those too old to fall for that are old enough to be asked, 'Do you want to find something to do, or do you want me to find you something?' " Even more valuable advice lies in those sections dealing with the often strained relationships that follow divorce. Martin is always sensible—just the woman for this delicate job. (Atheneum, $19.95)

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