Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Top 10 Parenting Pitfalls

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

    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 University.

    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.

    Brat-building response: "If you just start yelling and screaming at her, it's not going to help," Kindlon tells WebMD. "And a major mistake most parents make is to give the child an ultimatum, like 'If you keep this up you're not going to watch TV when you get home.'"

    But even though their tantrum continues ad nauseam, the TV goes on when the family gets home because the parent is beaten down.

    "This teaches a child that the best way to get what they want is to behave like a brat," says Kindlon.

    Angel-building response: "Plan ahead," says Kindlon "Bring snacks, games, and things to keep them entertained in the car. If that doesn't work, help them understand the consequences of their behavior. Again, with the ultimatum, if you use one, stick to it: 'If you don't stop behaving this way, you don't get to watch TV when you get home.'"

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Article
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    Article
     
    hand holding a cell phone
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    girl being bullied
    Article
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow