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Parenting, not drugs, can help boys in need I beg to differ with the May 24 letter ("Readers Write") defending the use of drugs as a helpful intervention for difficult boys (responding to "Using drugs to rein in boys," May 19). Our culture wants quick answers like pills, and parents can be intimidated into using drugs by administrators, teachers, and even well-meaning friends.

Our son lacked organizational skills and self-control beginning in fifth grade. More than one teacher suggested that we have him tested for attention deficit disorder, which we refused to do. Instead, my husband and I tried a variety of methods from close monitoring of his school behavior using a daily report form (which some teachers resisted), to structuring his after-school, weekend, and summer activities, to enrolling him in various courses on organization and study skills.

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For years his improvement was slow and painful, if at all, but we refused to give up. In high school his principal suggested that we get him tested and try using Ritalin, and again we refused. Finally, when he was a junior in a different high school, our son began to demonstrate greater self-control.

Maturity obviously was a factor, but it took six years of intensive, time-consuming, and often extremely frustrating parenting to get him to this point. Along the way there were teachers, church members, relatives and friends who were supportive. But it took a stubborn resolve on our part to resist the "conventional wisdom" favoring drug use and trust our own intuition that our son would eventually find his way.

Every child is different and each parent must decide what is best for that child; we certainly respect that right. But we think that boys have a right to act like boys without their behavior being seen as a "disease" that drugs can "cure." c, Dallas

Gauging foreign policy success Regarding "The US foreign policy mess" (June 3): Columnist Pat M. Holt's article is a litany of naysaying about the various problems with current US foreign policy.

However, in spite of NATO's bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, there are no major ongoing wars anywhere in the world. Yes, there are many deaths and imprisonment of innocents. But nothing like what we've seen in the past century.

We can be grateful for the extent to which peace does exist. And we can be grateful that there is sufficient policymaking courage among the various participants in NATO to establish a new pattern of response to petty tyrants and dictators: The leaders of the Western world will resist the human abuse and ethnic pogroms so long a part of the European experience.

The very fact that there has been an effort to change the miserable status quo needs to be applauded.

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Those kinds of efforts are almost guaranteed to be messy from a foreign policy standpoint. When you have as many cooks stirring the broth as there are in NATO decisionmaking, things will be messy.

Mr. Holt and his cohorts need to get a little perspective and to be more patient with the implementation process. Foreign policy success does not demand that things be neatly done - or even completely successful - to bring about a better world. Glenn Young, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Reasonable view of Makah whale hunt The opinion piece "Whales: beyond bumper-sticker chic" (May 28) gave me much to think about to move me past the righteous indignation that has characterized many of the criticisms of the Makah actions. I appreciate how often the Monitor digs beneath the surface to take a look at a bigger picture. Janice C. DeLacy, Black Diamond, Wash.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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