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Health & Parenting

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How Christina Applegate Stays Healthy and Happy

The actress dishes about 'Anchorman 2,' parenting, and self-esteem.

Applegate on Parenting continued...

"On one hand, the parent generally has a better grip on what is safe, what is appropriate, and what is beautiful, and can always force a showdown," Berger says. "But the child also needs the parent's support of his or her own point of view. What is damaged by the overbearing approach is a child's self-esteem. The parent needs to produce magic here, by embracing the child's difference from the parent." In other words, step in if your kid wants to wear swimwear on a freezing winter's day. But go ahead and praise clashing colors if your child is proud that she paired them by herself.

What to do on the occasions when a parent must intervene? "It's best for a parent to simply say, 'No. We're not doing that,' in a simple, direct way, and then move on," Berger advises.

Help Kids Develop Self Esteem

Two child psychologists weigh in on how to negotiate our brand-saturated, consumer-driven world.

A strong foundation comes first.

Berger insists that youthful trends, no matter how alarming to an adult, aren't the biggest issue. "Parents need help in negotiating trust, communication, and genuine intimacy" between themselves and their children, she says. It's not the phone or the booty shorts, per se; it's "modeling the right behaviors, and then placing more faith in the child's judgment."

Parents need to "praise positive behaviors" and "not view their own job as solely being the police." Instead, foster openness and loving conversation -- so a child can explain why owning an item of clothing or tech device is important to them.

Don't start at "no." Negotiate.

"The goal is to get to yes," says Diane E. Levin, PhD, professor of education at Wheelock College in Boston. That's not to say parents should roll right over. "Everything is a process. Talk to kids at their level of development," Levin advises. "Ask a lot of questions, and find out what the child is thinking. Too often, parents get stuck in a thought process of 'danger, danger, danger' without considering how to build the right skills in children to help them negotiate the world. Parents should see themselves as resources, so children feel confident coming to them with their problems and questions. Explain honestly to them why you have misgivings. And then find the compromise that makes them feel as if they've been heard and understood."

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