Mostly Cloudy   29.0F  |  Forecast »
Edit Module

The Reasons Toddlers Act So Crazy

A local expert let's parents know the lack of shame and inhibitions in your tot is all perfectly normal

Sandy Sedlar of Dexter found her youngest son slathered in Vaseline. It was Nolan's naptime, and mom was running on the treadmill.

"He somehow got in my master bathroom," she recalls, "got the Vaseline off the top shelf and used about 75 percent of the container to 'style' his hair, hands, face, legs, walls, carpet, bed and stuffed animals."

From nose picking to streaking, tykes do some crazy stuff. But while it seems strange or messy to adults, it's rite of passage for kids.

Reasons for the nuttiness

"Toddlers are notorious for their 'unconventional' behavior, and this behavior is usually normal," says psychologist Marcie Zoref of Birmingham.

Sedlar sees her share as mom of two boys. "I had my first child take off his cloth diaper and 'finger paint' with his poop," she says of son Brendan. "He was so proud of his art I didn't know what to do!"

Zoref says, "Toddlers are very interested in their environment and are known for touching things, exploring and asking a lot of questions." Also, she explains, toddlers don't have the same sense of shame, guilt or "superego" as adults do – the critical/ethical/moral sense that tells us right from wrong.

"Toddlers are also learning about their emotions and how to communicate their needs," Zoref adds. So when they get frustrated, act out or throw a tantrum, they could be trying to tell you something with limited language.

Parents' role

Jessica Redding's daughter, Taylor, sometimes acts like a dog in public.

"She gets on the ground, crawls around and will bark at people," Redding says. Taylor, 3 1/2, may also lick a person's hand. "It usually happens in unfamiliar situations," says Redding. "Her first time at a daycare or at a store if somebody talks to her."

While this is typically normal, Zoref says, be careful not to unknowingly encourage it: "Negative attention is still attention and could reinforce the behavior."

Encourage your toddler to talk about how he's feeling, find ways to help him identify and process emotions, set limits and offer alternative coping methods.

"Remember, you are their model and are shaping their behavior," Zoref says.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Green Bean Side Dish Ideas

Green Bean Side Dish Ideas

Go green with these yummy sides featuring kids' favorite beans. Check out these recipe ideas including mini green bean casseroles, lemony green beans and more.

Simple Sewing Holiday Tree Craft for Kids

Simple Sewing Holiday Tree Craft for Kids

Give your Christmas tree extra flair with this cute project that you can turn into an ornament or other decor. Teaches kids an easy running stitch, too.

Craft Review: Epson's LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit

Craft Review: Epson's LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit

This cool family crafting tool isn't just great for creating ordinary labels. It's also a handy holiday tool for gift wrapping and other creative DIY projects.

Make Cute Penguins with Candy Aisle Crafts Book

Make Cute Penguins with Candy Aisle Crafts Book

This delicious title features super creative, clever and easy crafts that southeast Michigan families can make with a simple trip to the grocery store.

Michigan Mitten Free Printable Greeting Card Craft

Michigan Mitten Free Printable Greeting Card Craft

Want to make the season bright, with a distinct dash of hometown flair? Our template is the perfect starting point for an easy, impressive card kids can make.

Meet Angelina, Metro Parent December 2014 CoverKid – VIDEO

Meet Angelina, Metro Parent December 2014 CoverKid – VIDEO

All bundled up and ready for winter, this 6-year-old Canton kid is ready to lead southeast Michigan to some fun events – and make you laugh out loud!

Elsa's Icy Braid: How to Create a Disney Princess Hairdo

Elsa's Icy Braid: How to Create a Disney Princess Hairdo

The super cool character has a signature hair look. Recreate it with this guide from the book Disney Frozen Hairstyles: Inspired by Anna and Elsa.

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement