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The 7 Worst Things Parents Do, by John C. Friel, PhD, and Linda D. Friel, MA (Health Communications, $10.95).

Synopsis: Don't coddle your kids: they'll have trouble going away to college. Instead dump 'em somewhere tonight and go see a movie. Try a little discipline, cream puff. They'll be fine.

Representative quote: "What about bedtime? If you're raising your children with a few rules that are consistently enforced, then this should hardly ever be a problem."

Noteworthy flaw: Title should have been: "The 7 Worst Things Parents Do Besides Tossing

Their Kids in Scalding Bathtubs, Locking Them in Closets, and Horrible Stuff Like That."

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey (Fireside, $14).

Synopsis: Teens should practice the same life-affirming, bad-stuff-denying mental gymnastics that work so well for adults.

Representative quote: "The next time you look in the mirror say something positive about yourself."

Noteworthy flaw: Specifies the 50 reasons not to have sex, but ignores the 500 reasons to just go ahead.

The 7 Most Effective Ways to Jump-start Your Diet, by Carmel Berman Reingold (Dell, $5.99).

Synopsis: Dieting is a way of life and fad diets never work. But heck, get off to a roaring start anyway with a brief crash diet! Try eating grapefruit all day long, or better yet, fasting.

Representative quote: "You may use a lemon wedge with the water and the tea, and you can drink as much water or tea as you wish."

Noteworthy flaw: If you have the willpower to endure the 7-Day Cabbage Soup Diet or the 3-Day French Crudites Diet, why not just begin your healthy lifestyle now and wait for the good results?

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