3 Parenting Behaviors Toddlers Respond to

parenting behaviors

Toddlers are just starting to grasp their environment. They’re starting to walk and get used to their surroundings. From their viewpoint, they live in a small world that is run by people much taller and stronger than they are. They can’t yet care for themselves but need the assistance of their parents to do tasks. But how do you know what parenting behaviors your toddler will respond to when your toddler wants a drink or when they’re being fussy? There are many ideal parenting guidelines to consider. You learn to listen to them and watch for cues that they need your attention.

Parenting Behaviors that Reinforce Positive Toddler Behaviors

Children today respond to three different types parenting behaviors. Being a great parent requires parenting behavior is by providing positive feedback to your child’s behavior. When they pick up their toys, parents give them a hug and tell them what a great job they did. They may give the child a high-five or a pat on the back. Let the child see happy expressions such as eyes lit up or a big smile. This sends the message that the parent sings their praises and encourages them when they portray good behavior.

How to Respond to Toddler Behavior that You Want to Discourage

On the contrary, toddlers also learn from observing how parents respond to their negative behavior. If they hit a sibling or break a toy, does the parent give them ice cream or laugh at it? If so, the child could easily learn to manipulate others. They could be controlling or troublesome when they get into school, developing an irritable or aggressive personality. Negative behaviors should never be rewarded. If the child colors on the dining room wall, does the parent give them ice cream or send the child to their room? Good parents would respond to their child by trying to understand why the behavior exists in the first place, and then respond to their child’s actions with appropriate parenting behavior that reinforces that the child’s behavior is not ok. The complex challenge is learning how to help your child develop a theory of mind about other people and to be empathetic about other’s needs and to make the right decisions. If you are struggling with how to comfort a child that seems hyperactive, consider this resource for how to calm a hyperactive child.

The consequences of ignoring your child

There is also the chance a child could respond parenting behaviors that are avoidant or offer no attention at all. The parents are not interested in the child and do not show interest in his or her needs. This has the potential to do more harm than good, often leaving the child with physical or cognitive delays that could be irreversible. This is often well-hid by the parents, but it needs to be exposed to everyone that has contact with the child. If they are in this type of atmosphere, they need to get out it much sooner than later. If the child gets out later, they may be at risk for developmental delays. That will set them back on the learning curve, which will make life much tougher.

The attention a child receives molds them into the person they become. If they receive mostly positive attention, the child is going to be optimistic and outgoing. They’re going to flock to people and let nothing stop them as they chase their dreams. But, if they receive mostly negative attention, or rarely any attention at all, the outcome could be drastically different. Learn to recognize what types of attention you’re giving your child. Do you need to change it? It could work to their benefit, and once you figure it out, you and your child will have a much easier time bonding.

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Paul is an assistant editor with Seekyt. I'm an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs personality test and I'm a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan. I'm also a devoted father of two wonderful daughters.