A Portrait of the Well-Behaved Child

What qualities distinguish the well-behaved child? He is in essence, a good citizen- a young person who has a healthy sense of self, who gets along well with family and friends, who has the inner resource and the self – control needed to regulate his actions in the world at large. But such a child does not simply happen: he is a product of long learning process, one that begins in the earliest days of life and continues throughout the years of childhood.

Importance of love

What babies and young children understand best is the unstinting love of their parents – and of the many foundation stones of good behavior, parental love is surely the greatest. As the child grows older, the abiding love of his mother and father also gives him the feeling that he is special, a person worthy of regard, thus building in him a reservoir of self-esteem.

Respect for the feeling of others

Out of the loving bond with his parents grows another important characteristic of the well-behaved child: the realization that his mother and father and other people in his life have feelings and needs just as he does, and that he must respect others’ feelings in order to get along in society.

During the preschool year s he may be incapable of true empathy – a personal identification with the hurts, fears and joys of those around him.

Responsibility and cooperation

The awareness that there is more to life than the gratification of needs leads to a sense of responsibility,  another key foundation stone of good behavior. Responsible behavior should also include the concept of co-operating and sharing the work load at home. Even at the toddler stage, having a few simple duties such as putting stuffed animals away on their shelf at the bedtime will help give you’re the proud feeling that she is an important member of the family.

The well-behaved child recognizes the difference between things that are rightfully hers and those that are not.

Respect for rules

At the toddler and preschool stage, of course, children are not yet emotionally and mentally mature enough to grasp the loftier social standards of fairness, honesty, trustworthiness, forgiveness, humility and courage. In the earliest year the child will be benefit if rules are kept as simple and clear as possible, with allowances made for the many missteps that are bound to occur along the way.

In time, as the youngster develops more mature reasoning powers, she will understand the basis for the rules that you have taught her to follow, and the lapses should be fewer.

Independence of mind

While the good child will display a healthy respect for rules and for the authority that lies behind them, goodness should never be equated with mindless obedience. On the contrary, strength of character includes the ability to think and make decisions independently.

As a parent, you can foster such independence early on by giving your little one freedom to make simple choices. This will help build his confidence in his ability to manage things for himself and will encourage him to view himself as a competent, successful person.