1 YEAR OLD Is your tod­dler naughty, or just nor­mal? Here’s how to tell the dif­fer­ence.

But Your tod­dler’s be­hav­iour may over­whelm you at times, DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON says it’s im­por­tant to dis­tin­guish be­tween wil­ful acts and typ­i­cal de­vel­op­ment traits.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

In the blink of an eye, your lit­tle one is no longer a baby but an en­er­getic one-year-old. He can walk and talk a lit­tle, and sud­denly, he seems to have a mind of his own.

He wants to ex­plore ev­ery­thing and has trou­ble con­trol­ling his emo­tions, which can both de­light and frus­trate you. You find your­self won­der­ing: Is he be­ing naughty?

Well, chances are he isn’t. Here are some com­mon things tod­dlers do that are per­fectly nor­mal:

He has tantrums

Those out­bursts of rage are dread­ful to ex­pe­ri­ence – the mo­ment your tod­dler can’t get ex­actly what he wants, at the ex­act time he wants it, his tem­per ex­plodes.

He isn’t be­ing naughty, he just hasn’t gained con­trol over his emo­tions yet. So, when his frus­tra­tion breaches his tol­er­ance thresh­old, he has a spon­ta­neous and in­vol­un­tary tantrum.

He doesn’t lis­ten

It is so an­noy­ing when you ask your tod­dler to do some­thing – or even more an­noy­ingly, to stop do­ing some­thing – only to find that he ig­nores you com­pletely.

He doesn’t do it on pur­pose. He is just ei­ther so en­grossed in the ac­tiv­ity that he didn’t ac­tu­ally hear you, or he is hav­ing so much fun he can’t bear to ac­cede to your re­quest.

He mouths ob­jects

You need to watch your tod­dler all the time be­cause he has the ter­ri­fy­ing habit of putting ev­ery­thing into his mouth, es­pe­cially small non­food items.

That is just his way of ex­plor­ing. Soon, he’ll learn to dis­cover in less haz­ardous ways. But for now, mouthing is his in­stinc­tive method.

He’s a fussy eater

Just when you think you have dis­cov­ered what he likes to eat, he sud­denly be­comes very picky at meal­times and re­fuses to even taste what he pre­vi­ously en­joyed.

His tastes have just changed as he has grown. That is a nat­u­ral part of de­vel­op­ment. Don’t get ag­i­tated about this, or he’ll re­alise fussy eat­ing winds you up.

He touches ev­ery­thing

He reaches for those pre­cious or­na­ments in your home, and those care­fully stacked shelves in the su­per­mar­ket, with­out any thought of the con­se­quences.

He isn’t be­ing naughty, he is just driven by his over­rid­ing cu­rios­ity. Not think­ing about pos­si­ble out­comes, your tod­dler sees some­thing, wants to know more, and grabs it.

He re­sists sleep

You know that your one-year-old needs his day­time nap and his night­time sleep, yet there are times when he re­sists doz­ing with all his en­ergy.

He isn’t be­ing wil­ful, he would just rather stay awake. Life is so ex­cit­ing for him that the thought of miss­ing out on the fun when he goes to sleep makes him ex­tremely un­happy.

He bites oth­ers

Your tod­dler might bite oth­ers (who­ever hap­pens to be within reach) when he is up­set, an­gry or frus­trated.

Bit­ing is just his way of re­leas­ing ten­sion with­out think­ing about the con­se­quences for the vic­tim. He doesn’t have suf­fi­cient em­pa­thy to re­alise the ef­fect his ac­tions have. He only sees things his way.

He throws food

There are few things more likely to raise your hack­les than the sight of your kid throw­ing his din­ner on the floor or toss­ing his food across the table.

He isn’t try­ing your pa­tience, he just thinks this is great fun. Rather like play­ing with fin­ger paints, or muck­ing around in the sand tray, food throw­ing is an­other messy ac­tiv­ity that he en­joys.

He makes a pub­lic scene

Just when it is your turn to pay at the cashier – in full view of all the other shop­pers – your one-yearold makes a pub­lic spec­ta­cle be­cause you won’t buy him that bar of choco­late he wants.

He is just obliv­i­ous to by­standers be­cause he is con­sumed with his rage. His ego­cen­tric­ity blinds him to the pres­ence of oth­ers.

He isn’t be­ing naughty, he just hasn’t gained con­trol over his emo­tions yet. So, when his frus­tra­tion breaches his tol­er­ance thresh­old, he has a spon­ta­neous and in­vol­un­tary tantrum.

He can’t sit still

He wrig­gles when you read him a story, and he con­stantly moves around when you try to talk to him.

It’s not on pur­pose, his con­cen­tra­tion is just very lim­ited at this age and he is very eas­ily dis­tracted. Al­though the story might at­tract his at­ten­tion for a few sec­onds, he is quickly drawn to other pos­si­bil­i­ties in his im­me­di­ate vicin­ity.

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