Today as my child stared right into my eyes, telling an obvious lie, I was forced to remember the first time he lied to me. I remember excusing him as being too young to understand the difference between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. So I let him off with no correction whatsoever since he was only a little child and would probably not even understand all my ‘talk’.

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Now fast-forward to ‘today’ – With frustration, I was forced to listen to yet another lie. However this time around, it was coming from a child who obviously now knew the difference between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I was baffled. You see, he was still so young and had had very supervised interaction with the world out there, so where in the world had he learned to lie? How had he gotten into the habit of calling ‘yes’ ‘no’ and ‘no’ ‘yes’?

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Dear moms, it’s amazing when we see our once innocent children pick up strange habits such as ‘telling lies’, ‘pretending’, ‘talking back’, ‘refusing to share’, ‘acting stubborn’, ‘being aggresive’ etc. Don’t we sometimes wonder where they got these naughty habits from. Obviously, they tend to pick up a lot of habits from their environments. But in addition, I believe that children naturally have a bit of ‘naughty’ and ‘selfish’ in them. In reality, nobody is actually born good. It is therefore up to we the parents to teach our children the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.

Though at really young ages they may appear totally clueless when you give them the talk, you’ll be surprised at how fast and calculative their brains are already working. For example there was a time when my toddler used to pretend she was sleeping just to get me off her back whenever it was meal time. Nobody taught her this ‘craft’. It was something she came up with all by herself and to be honest, I used to find her ‘pretend-sleep’ absolutely hilarious. But at the same time, when I saw ‘it’ was becoming a way of life with her, I had to become firm with her, helping her understand that it is wrong to go into the ‘pretend’ mode simply because she wanted to get out of an activity.

Therefore, rather than laughing off our children’s ‘mischief’ and ‘stubbornness’, correct them with love and age-appropriate language. It may take time before they finally get the message, but eventually they would get ‘it’ before it becomes too late. It’s way easier to teach them to behave ‘well’ right from the beginning than to teach them to unlearn nasty habits when they get older and develop a stronger will.

So dear moms, would you agree that all children are born with a bit of ‘naughty’ in them or do you believe that all habits are learnt from the environment? How do you deal with the naughty, but supposedly harmless, habits? Do you shrug them off or correct your child? Do share with us…

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