Top 10 Parenting Pitfalls
Experts offer advice that will help you raise a well-behaved child -- instead of a brat.
The Morning Routine
It's hard enough for you to get out of bed at 6 a.m., let alone get your two
kids out of bed. Should you let them sleep late, just this once?
Brat-building response: "Sometimes kids come downstairs
in the morning, they watch TV, they get around to eating their breakfast, they
get dressed, the process gets delayed, mom or dad gets frustrated and angry,
and maybe they make the bus, maybe the don't," says Donahue. Better yet,
the whole routine starts over again the next day.
Angel-building response: "Kids shouldn't come down and
watch TV or play a video game first thing in the morning," says Donahue.
"It's like saying you get to have this fun experience before you get
dressed, brush your teeth, or do your work. You have to take care of your
As your child gets older and wiser, his pile of homework grows -- as does
the frustration you feel in making sure he gets it all done.
Brat-building response: "We want our kids to do well in
school, and yet we are not clear that homework takes precedent over a play date
or after-school activities," says Donahue. "So then the homework gets
left until after dinner, and then it's diminishing returns: they're tired, and
it's getting much more difficult to get them to do it, and they don't have
incentive to get it done."
Angel-building response: "There needs to be a
reasonable structure for homework," says Donahue. "Say to your kids,
'At 3 p.m. you get to play, but at 4 p.m., you sit down and do your homework.'
It's especially important in most families that homework get done before
dinner. Set the structure in place so when they are older and they have more
activities, they know they still need to get homework done before
No matter the scenario, here are tips for dealing with parenting
Mean business. "Speak to your child like you mean
business, and send clear messages when you're communicating with your
kids," says Donahue.
Stick to your guns. "The toughest thing is to have
endurance," says Donahue. "Stick to your guns, even when the kids are
whining and pushing your buttons. Kids know that if we have a history of not
sticking to what we say, they're going to push and push. Have the endurance and
the strength and the energy to keep up with them."
Plan ahead. "Parents have to do a better job of helping
kids to anticipate the behavior that is expected of them beforehand,"
Donahue tells WebMD. "When you're in the middle of a situation, you're busy
and rushing and don't think about it, and then things can get out of
Take care of yourself. "Sleep more, exercise, and take
care of yourself," says Donahue. "Parenting is extremely exhausting