Right and Wrong: Help Your Tots Understand the Concept for a Bright Future!

Flickr photo by laffy4k
My 2 1/2-year-old son, JD, is quite the artist and normally I'm in awe of all of his creations -- when they're on paper! The other day I caught my little guy scribbling in crayon on the WHITE windowsills in the living room.

"STOP," I said in a very calm, even-toned voice. JD stopped, looked at me, and offered up the orange crayon. Then he said,"Sorry" in a very pitiful voice and his bottom lip curled under. He knew he did wrong, and according to a recent study at the University of Iowa, this is a very, very good thing.


Research finds that toddlers who feel guilt and regret over the naughty things they did (scribbling on the windowsill; pulling the cat's tail; throwing peas on the kitchen floor) have fewer behavioral problems later on than toddlers who didn't recognize their own, let's be honest, everyday mischief.

Some mom-to-mom advice: Like I said, JD knew what he did was a big no-no. If you find that your toddler isn't owning up to (or understanding) his "uh-oh" behavior, try talking to him in a calm, never angry voice. Show him the scribbles on the windowsill and say, "No-no." Tell him that coloring on the windowsill makes you sad (show him a sad face). Lastly, never, ever try to explain something when your child is crying or throwing a fit -- he won't be listening, trust me.

Does your tot understand his naughty behavior? Do they say sorry when they act up?

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