Mistakes Good Parents Make

If you're like most parents, you try a variety of strategies to get your kids to cooperate. Here's a candid look at why the most common strategies fail, and some alternative ideas.
The Downside of Rewards

Child development experts have found that rewards -- such as gifts for good grades, treats for nice behavior, or money for household chores -- can have a downside.

"There's nothing wrong with rewarding kids for an exceptional job," says Teresa Amabile, Ph.D., psychologist and professor at Harvard University. "The problem occurs when rewards are dangled like carrots in front of children to compel them to do something."

Used too often, however, rewards can send children subtle negative messages that parents may not recognize. Four of those messages are described in detail on the next page.

Continued on page 2:  Mixed Messages