I teach parenting seminars and one thing I am often asked about is what are appropriate behaviors for different ages? Like toddlers and preschoolers hitting or biting- and is this normal? Yes. For that age it is. But still, there must boundaries for what is acceptable.
Inappropriate and wrong behaviors must stop at those stages if we don’t want them to continue. Then a behavior moves from being stage-related into real behaviorial issues. That’s why children need boundaries.
Without them, children are confused – they may even experiment more with undesirable behaviors. For instance, when a 3 year old lies – or tells a story defending their behavior – it may seem funny and cute. But if you don’t want them to become a 13-year-old who lies, parents must set boundaries, correct misbehavior and teach them a better way to act. It’s easier – and better- to step in early with corrective measure to stop misbehavior.
Three things which are essential.
1) spend time and patience teaching correct behaviors
2) set pre-planned consequences for misbehavior and follow through
3) carry through consistently
Appropriate behaviors for age and stage still need correcting, so do not allow a child to carry a stage-related behavior forward. Stop it in its tracks.
Focus on the Family is a great resource for parenting babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Check it out.