Bit of background first. My wife and I have decided to start a family. Two different members of the family have raised their kids in a way we disapprove of, which is seemingly the modern way of being your kid's best friend, giving them choices, and basically more or less letting them run the show. I see this often with parents shying away from disciplining their kids, sincerely feeling as if the kid will hate them if they are disciplined at all! The consequences of that are disastrous, as I've seen first-hand. One kid eventually grew out of it after my sister finally adjusted her parenting style using a number of my suggestions. Although my nephew will always have some issues, things have improved tenfold and my sister at least was never helicopter parent. The other kid is almost 7 and was raised by one. The result is my niece turned into an incredibly bossy self-centered girl who, although not mean-spirited, doesn't see/understand the concepts of following somebody else's lead, staying calm, not having wild temper tantrums whenever something doesn't go exactly her way, among other major behavioral issues. My niece is even now seeing a child psychologist. Yes, it's that bad. Anyway, getting to the point of this thread. Was watching Louis CK telling the story of his daughter talking to her mom about how she saw a dog today. In this (hypothetical?) anecdote, he happens to walk in the room at that moment and wanting to be a good parent and show interest in his daughter, asks "Oh really? What kind of dog did you see, honey?" She replies in a very mean way "NO! I'm not telling YOU! I'm telling MOMMY!" NOTE : no age was mentioned but that sounds like a 3-4yo to me. It's the setup to a joke and the punchline matters little, but I'm wondering how you parents would handle that because in this little moment, I symbolically see the seeds of the style of behavior my niece exhibits. The best way to prevent this type of behavior from becoming prevalent would be to address it quickly, right? I'm fully aware every child challenges the parents' authority and that kids oftentimes lack the impulse control and emotional maturity and verbal skills to communicate what they are actually feeling. My #1 priority as a father would be that my kid becomes a genuinely nice empathetic person with a big heart. Being self-absorbed is the last thing I'd want my kid to ever be! Nevertheless, how would you address this to make the child understand he/she is being unnecessarily mean? The three choices I see are ; - The dad says it's not very nice and tries to explain why it can hurt his feelings. - The mom says it's not very nice and tries to explain why it can hurt his feelings. - Nothing. It's glossed over with an eyeroll from the dad and that's it. With zero experience, my instincts tell me if the dad is the one who acts, the child was already showing confrontational behavior and might not be receptive to the message. If the mom acts, maybe the kid will be more receptive but I worry about the dad looking like he doesn't have as much authority as the mom in the kid's eyes. Doing nothing doesn't seem like a great idea. I know some parents will say you have to pick your battles but I'm thinking that in something so fundamentally important as not being self-centered, that consistency in disciplining the kid is the key to eradicating that type of behavior altogether. Thoughts? Please be kind. Sorry for the long post.