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No Brats For Marilu Henner

Marilu Henner, actress and author, has written her third book, I Refuse to Raise a Brat: Straightforward Advice on Parenting in an Age of Overindulgence.

She shared some of her advice with CBS News This Morning.


Her latest book was co-written with Dr. Ruth Velikovsky Sharon, a psychoanalyst with whom Henner has worked for many years. The book's main message: Don't overindulge your children.

"I'm not the expert. I'm a work in progress, really, a messenger," says Henner. "I want to share good info. Dr. Sharon's advice always worked, so I wanted to spread the word."

"When my son Nicky was 14 months and having trouble going to bed, I called her and said, 'It's becoming troublesome, and I refuse to raise a brat!' " she explains.

"She said, 'That's a great name for a book,' and we decided to write a book together," she adds. Henner's other two books are Total Health Makeover and The 30 Day Total Health Makeover.

I Refuse to Raise a Brat:
Read an excerpt from the book, Chapter 1.
Henner says Dr. Sharon's theories "make the book."

For instance, temper tantrums come in different forms, including sulking and the silent treatment. Some adults throw tantrums, because they never learned to control themselves when young.

Henner describes a brat as "basically a kid who is consistently out of control, whose parents have to bargain and bribe and give in because kids can't take no for an answer."

"Little brats grow up to be big brats, like adults [who] don't know how to tolerate frustration because they were overindulged as kids," she adds.

The book's three most important points are:

  • "No" is a complete sentence. Don't be afraid to say no and have it hold up.

  • Teach children that there are contracts. We have one with everyone we deal with, whether they're spoken or unspoken (concerning bedtime, dinnertime, TV, going through mom's purse, etc.) and rules should be adhered to.

    Kids should not run a household. Kids that end up running a household are more out of control and less secure because they don't have strong parents who taught them this.

  • Parents shouldn't do everything for their children. Don't shield them from certain emotional feelings because it's important that they learn things early so they'll be able to deal with them later on.
"Most people think of overindulgence as giving too many material things." Henner adds. "But it's also lavish praise where a kid is told how great they are for every single thing that they do, whether it's getting an A plus on their report card, or just getting their homework done."

"Some things are just part of life's exectations, and kids shouldn't be praised for the normal things they should be doing," she adds.

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