Top 10 Parenting Pitfalls
Experts offer advice that will help you raise a well-behaved child -- instead of a brat.
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
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
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."
The Screaming in the Store
We've all seen it: The screaming child in the toy store. He wants the latest
video game, and he's not shutting up until he has it.
Brat-building response: "If you give in, you teach your
child that when he acts like a brat he can get what he wants," says Dan
Kindlon, author of Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character
in an Indulgent Age. "You're reinforcing his bratty behavior."
Angel-building response: "There are two ways to
approach it," says Kindlon, who teaches child psychology at Harvard
First, plan ahead, and second, plan a response.
"Make a deal with them beforehand -- you are going to buy them something
and it's only going to cost $5," says Kindlon. "Or tell them, 'I'm
going shopping for your cousin and this is not for you.' Give them structure
beforehand so they're not caught off guard. Then, if they still explode in the
store, ignore them, say you are not going to listen anymore. Then you leave the
store and take them with you."
The Car Ride
You have 300 miles in front of you when your youngest explodes in a temper
tantrum that rivals the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.