Nothing really knocks me over here, but this is a solid episode for House - eights across the board. The medical case is decent, Chase's subplot is pretty funny, and the House/Cuddy still manages to walk that fine line between realistic character evolution and overly sentimental treacle.
FOX.com has a recap here.
I like the status quo we're establishing here: House is trying his best to care for Cuddy, but he's still distinctly himself. Only House would conclude that what he really needs to do to make Cuddy happy is train Rachel on the preschool's toys using a dog clicker so she'll be extra-ready for her admissions play date. Only House would consider a well-timed lie a reason to feel affection. Obviously, he still has no idea how to actually communicate with a small child like a normal human being, but hey - you have to give him a lot of credit for trying. And that little moment at the end when Rachel climbs into his lap? Very cute without being overly saccharine.
Meanwhile, I definitely had fun watching Chase get what he so richly deserves. He has been such an unlikable man-whore lately. It's about time somebody punished him for it. And what a great way to do it, too. Hacking into Chase's Facebook account and posting manipulated pics of his supposedly tiny penis is a hilarious stroke of genius, as is posting that request for overweight female dates. Schadenfreude - I feels it.
I don't have much to say about the Patient of the Week, I'm afraid. I will note, however, that my personal answer to the question posed by the title (and main plot) of this episode is that one should use a little of both. As a parent (or other adult authority figure), you need to show the kids in your charge that you care for them and are capable of having fun. At the same time, you also need to firmly lay down the law when circumstances require it. I had an acquaintance in high school who was sent to a military boarding school, and even today, I still remember the difference that parental decision made. Before going away, this kid was failing all of his classes and constantly getting into trouble; afterwards, he was a polite and confident young man. Sometimes tough love works.
This episode's very good script offers up some genuine laughs.
There are no major problems with the performances.
It was nice to see Chase get his comeuppance.