Top 10 Parenting Pitfalls
Experts offer advice that will help you raise a well-behaved child -- instead of a brat.
Parenting is no walk in the park, especially on
the days when your little angel, whether he's 6 or 16, decides to act like a
If it's the temper tantrum in the toy store over the latest video game, or
the daily fight over math homework, or the food fight in a restaurant on Friday
night, parents have a choice: To react in a way that will only make matters
worse when the bell rings for round two, or respond like the calm, cool, and
collected parents we see on TV shows like Nanny 911 -- after weeks of live-in,
What is the secret to their success, other than public humiliation?
"Overall, with any scenario, the worst thing a parent can do that helps
bratty behavior blossom is to not set clear expectations and not have
consequences to a child's behavior," says Jenn Berman, PhD, a psychologist
in private practice in Beverly Hills who specializes in family therapy.
Experts offer advice on the top 10 parenting pitfalls that will help you
raise a well-behaved child -- instead of a brat.
The TV Toy
It's Saturday morning, you're doing laundry, the kids are watching their
morning cartoons, and it happens: Your middle child sees the toy of his dreams
on TV, starts in with the begging, and doesn't let up.
Brat-building response: "A lot of kids see things on TV
-- games, food, or dolls -- and then they start nagging until they get it,"
says Berman. "If you run to the store to buy your child exactly what they
want, then you've taught them that nagging is an effective tool for getting
Angel-building response: "You can say, 'It's a cool
toy. Let me find out how much it is, and I can help you save your allowance for
it,'" says Berman. "You are teaching your child to work toward a goal
--instead of giving in. It helps the child learn about goals, saving money, and
it's a good response for both parent and child."
You're having your boss over for dinner on Friday night, and while you
begged your sister to watch the kids for the evening, no such luck. Is it time
to start bribing them to be quiet with expensive sneakers or the latest handbag
from Dolce & Gabbana?
Brat-building response: "Parents often try to buy good
behavior by getting their kids expensive gifts," says Berman. "And then
they say, 'I don't understand why she isn't better behaved? I get her
everything she wants!'" These cool gifts lose their meaning and the child
feels entitled and less well behaved."
Angel-building response: "Allow the child the
opportunity to earn what you give them, and set limits around their
expectations," says Berman. "Tell them, 'You can get one pair of shoes
within this amount of money.' Teach them early on how to make choices."