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Parenting Strategies: When Should You Give in to Your Kids?


The Prob: She clamps her mouth shut whenever she sees a toothbrush.

The Call:  Because good oral health is so important for the entire body, this is one battle worth picking, says Mark H. Goldenberg, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist in Beverly Hills. “Even if you're able to do a minimal amount, it's still better than nothing.”

The Prob: It's time for bed and he's stalling with stories.

The Call:  Hold your ground on a consistent bedtime, advises Jill Spivack, psychotherapist and coauthor of The Sleepeasy Solution. “Sleep is the foundation for everything.” behavior during the day and fewer control battles.”

The Prob: She insists on wearing a princess costume to preschool.

The Call: Little kids are trying to figure out where they can have a big-kid voice, says Spivack. “Picking their clothes is an excellent area to give them.”

The Prob: Playtime is fun, but toy cleanup is war.

The Call: “If you go nuts about it, you're going to have way more trouble,” says Betsy Brown Braun, author of Just Tell Me What to Say. Tidy up with your kids so they learn the habit.

The Prob: He's begging for juice but won't say the magic word.

The Call:  Lack of manners now doesn't portend a future filled with rudeness. Keep saying “please” and “thank you” yourself and eventually your kid will catch on, says Braun.