Signs That Your Child Is Developing Bad Habits and How Parents Can Help

As parents, we all hope that our children will be obedient, polite, and develop good character traits. However, in the process of raising children, it is inevitable that children will form some bad habits.


Children Who Fake Cry

Toddlers often use crying as an early form of non-verbal communication before they can express their needs and feelings through words. Parents learn to detect the various cries that mean hunger, tiredness, or discomfort.

As they become more aware of their surroundings, some older toddlers, around age 2-3, begin crying intentionally to get attention and have their demands met. This may reflect inconsistent parenting, where every demand is quickly met every time they cry.

Toddlers often use crying as an early form of non-verbal communication

It is important for parents to recognize and respond appropriately to this behavior. When the crying is due to a physical need, comforting the child is appropriate. However, if the child is crying manipulatively to get their own way, parents should avoid giving in immediately.  At the same time, responses to crying should not be harsh such as yelling or punishment, as this can create fear and inhibit the child’s ability to express their genuine emotions. Instead, allow the child to calm down and stop crying on their own, and then approach them with guidance and teaching in a patient and respectful manner.

Children Who Are Too Slick

Parents often take pride in their children being good communicators, appearing intelligent, and being able to interact skillfully. Yet when a young child shows signs of excessive flattery or insincere compliments, this is something to watch and address with caution.

When children are not being genuine, it shows they are beginning to understand there are different viewpoints and opinions. If this pattern continues as children get older, parents may need to gently guide them toward understanding and practicing honesty.

Sometimes children lie because they fear disappointing their parents or the consequences that may follow if they make a mistake. The pressure to achieve in school can lead children to feel they need to lie to avoid getting into trouble. Other times, children may lie to gain additional attention, such as by pretending to be sick when they are not.

Sometimes children lie because they fear disappointing their parents or the consequences that may follow if they make a mistake

Children may also learn to lie from the adults around them, so it’s important to examine the environment the child lives in and the example parents are setting.

When parents recognize their child has lied, it is important to avoid overreacting and instead model honesty themselves, as well as set clear expectations. Minor consequences can help children understand their actions.

And most importantly, parents should try to avoid putting excessive pressure on children. High expectations can unknowingly create unnecessary stress and burdens in children’s lives, leading to undesirable behaviors like lying.

Frequently asked questions

It depends on the context. If the child is crying due to a physical need, it is appropriate to comfort them. However, if the child is crying manipulatively to get their way, parents should avoid giving in immediately. Responses should also not be harsh, as this can create fear and inhibit the child’s emotional expression. Instead, let the child calm down and then approach them with guidance and teaching in a patient and respectful manner.

This behavior indicates that the child is beginning to understand the concept of different viewpoints and opinions. It may be a cause for concern if it continues as the child gets older, as it could lead to a pattern of dishonesty. Parents should gently guide their children toward understanding and practicing honesty.

Children may lie out of fear of disappointing their parents or to avoid the consequences of making a mistake. School pressures can also contribute to this behavior. Additionally, children may lie to gain extra attention or because they have learned this behavior from the adults around them.

Parents should avoid overreacting and instead model honest behavior themselves. They should also set clear expectations and provide minor consequences to help children understand the impact of their actions. Most importantly, parents should refrain from putting excessive pressure on their children, as this can lead to stress and undesirable behaviors.
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