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Top 10 Parenting Pitfalls

Experts offer advice that will help you raise a well-behaved child -- instead of a brat.

The Bribes continued...

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."

The Sleepover

Her bags are packed and she's ready to go to the sleepover, except for one thing: She forgot to ask for your permission.

Brat-building behavior: Even though she's screaming bloody murder, if you let her get away with it once, she'll do it again, and again and again. "You've taught your child that screaming long enough will get her what she wants, and now you've created your own private hell," Berman tells WebMD.

Angel-building behavior: "As a parent, it is always considerate and helpful to let a child know your thinking, so your child knows why you don't want her to go to the sleepover, so it doesn't seem like you are being unreasonable," says Berman. "But if you shared your reasoning, and she keeps yelling, you have to stand your ground."

The Divide and Conquer

You've been very clear and given your son a decisive NO when he asked, "Can I go to the birthday party, puh-lease?" His tactic? To ask dad.

Brat-building behavior: "When a child gets 'no' from mom, and 'yes' from dad, it teaches them they can divide and conquer," says Berman. "They learn that they can divide their parents and fool them, and if they are manipulative enough, they can get what they want."

Angel-building behavior: "Enforce in advance," says Berman. "Tell a child that if you ask mom and get 'no,' and then you ask dad and get 'yes,' the 'no' still stands, and your punishment for asking us both is xyz."

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