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'' More affluent families want their children to be more socialized,'' he said.

'' They feel that social dealings, as well as academic programs, are somehow a race: the earlier you start, the better.'' Dr.

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.

To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

Sometimes parents take action to try to fend off social pressures on their children.

One New York City mother, speaking on condition her name not be used, said that when children in her son's fifth-grade class at the Trinity School began talking about dating last year, a group of parents banded together to ''nip it in the bud.'''' We panicked initially,'' she said.

David Elkind, a professor of child study at Tufts University who wrote '' The Hurried Child'' (Addison-Wesley, 1981).

Davis, the volume of her voice rising with each word. Davis fortunate, for they report having similar conversations with children even younger, only 9 or 10.

In some communities, children are taking an interest in pairing off with the opposite sex at a time in life when their parents' generation was preoccupied with baseball practices or ballet lessons.

BETSY DAVIS knew she would be having this conversation with her elder son one day.

After all, it goes with the job of being a parent.'' He came home from school one afternoon and told me he wanted to take his girlfriend on a date to the movies,'' said Ms. ' My son is only 11 years old.'' Some parents might consider Ms.

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