Coloring on the wallIn writing for about the time she lost her daughter in a store and the child took a bracelet while they were separated, Jane Murphy wrote,

"But in many cases, the naughty, troublesome things our toddlers and preschoolers do demonstrate that they've hit a new ability or understanding and are showing it off…While you still have to take action when your child misbehaves, there are plenty of good reasons to take heart.”

Murphy was relieved that her child had been found and touched that her daughter presented her with a gift, even though it had been stolen. Murphy offered suggestions for handling times when your child misbehaves while looking on the bright side:

Artistic Expression

If your child paints or draws on walls and other surfaces when you wish he or she wouldn't, remember that your child has a desire for creative expression and wants to feel a sense of accomplishment. It is up to you to redirect this desire in the appropriate manner. You can make your child help you clean up the mess and then be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your budding artist to draw, decorate, and paint under your supervision using supplies that you provide.

Aggressive Behavior

When your toddler is too aggressive with siblings or playmates, remember that your child is learning how to go for what he or she wants and at this age has not learned to temper these desires the way adults must. Teach your child how to get what he or she wants politely. You can take your child aside and tell him or her to ask for a toy instead of grabbing it. One mother said she had to teach her children to take turns by setting a timer for how long each could play with a highly desirable toy.

Picture Credit: rory & yoojin