Ask parents what their main objective is in raising their children, many would answer, "to raise independent, responsible, productive adults." It sounds simple, but in a society filled with overindulgence, instant gratification, and self-fulfillment, bad habits often arise.

The questions are: What is the difference between a temporary habit that is likely to be outgrown, such as sleeping with the lights on versus a habit that could lead to long-term destructive patterns, such as over-eating? How can parents guide their children toward healthy habits that will serve them well as adults?

Everyone has habits. Some are helpful and are a necessary part of our daily functions, while others are harmful and can significantly interfere with our lives. When harmful habits are repeated and automatic, they can cause conflict in relationships, social stress, and/or lead to addictive behaviors.