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Why Parents Shouldn’t Ignore These 6 Behavior Problems


Little often turns to big.

Everyone always says, “It’s no big deal just ignore it.” That strategy is alright some of the time, but not all of the time.

Ignoring mild misbehavior is a legitimate parenting strategy. It shows your little ones that their antics won’t get your attention. This means your children will be less likely to repeat it in the future.

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However, not all behavior should be ignored. If it is, it will lead to worse problems down the road.

Keep a look out for these small misbehaviors and take action ASAP. Here are six little behavior problems you can’t ignore:

1. Interrupting When You’re Talking

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Your daughter (or son) may be really excited and want to tell you an important part about her day. When you allow your child to butt into your conversation, you give her the message that it’s alright.

This doesn’t teach your daughter to be considerate of others. This also doesn’t teach her to occupy her time on her own.

The next time this happens, let your daughter know you will be busy. Suggest a few toys or games she can play with. If she continues to interrupt you, steer her back in the right direction.

2. Exaggerating the Truth

At first, the exaggerations are little. Maybe, your son told you he finished all of his vegetables. When the truth is he hardly touched one. This little white lie isn’t exactly harmful, but they are not facts.

You may think this is no big deal, but eventually, the lying can get worse. Remember, when children are between the ages of 2-4, they don’t know exactly what the truth is. But, after that, they will begin to understand.

When they tell the truth, give them a lot of praise. Encourage your son to be honest, even if it means he could get into trouble.

3. Pretending Not to Hear You

We’re all familiar with this one. You may have done this as a kid yourself. It still doesn’t make it alright. You shouldn’t have to repeat yourself three or four times to have your child pick up her toys or get in the car.

Remember, you are training your child. If this starts young, it will only get worse down the road. Tuning you out is a power play on the child’s part.

The next time you ask your daughter to do something, walk over to where she is and look at her. Make sure she responds, with, “Okay, Mommy.” If she is watching T.V., it’s okay to turn it off. This is also a time where you can start to take away privileges.

For example, instead of one hour of T.V., she will only be able to watch a half hour.

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4. Playing Too Rough

You know you have to step in when your son punches his younger brother. But, you also don’t want to ignore the more subtle aggressive acts, like shoving his younger brother or ignoring him. You need to get a grip on this early, or it will get out of control by age eight. It also sends a message that hurting people is acceptable.

Confront aggressive behavior immediately. Pull your son aside and let him know this is not alright. He could hurt someone. If the behavior continues, don’t allow him to play with his younger brother until he stops.

5. Helping Himself/Herself to a Treat

I know it’s convenient when your children can get themselves a snack and turn on the T.V., without your help. It may even be cute when your 2-year-old grabs a cookie off the counter without asking. But, just wait until they are eight and at a friend’s house, and they grab a treat without asking.

It’s important to establish some house rules. Can your child have sweets without asking? Do you need to ask to turn on the T.V.? Make sure your child knows what the rules are, this will help her follow the rules.

6. Having a Little Attitude

You may think attitude starts as a pre-teen, but it actually starts much earlier. Pre-schoolers will mimic their parents’ behavior to see what type of a reaction they get.

Parents may ignore it because they think it’s a phase. If you ignore the attitude, it will get much worse down the road. You will have a third-grader with an attitude problem, that you may feel like you can’t control.

You need to make your child aware of his behavior and that it’s not alright. Let your son know that you know he is rolling his eyes. The idea here is to let your child feel bad about his behavior. Let your child know that you will listen to him when he is ready to talk nicely to you.

If you’ve already done this, then great. If not, that’s alright. It’s never too late to start. Remember, all parents go through highs and lows. If you stick with it, down the road it will pay off.

This guest article originally appeared on 6 Little Behavior Problems Parents Should Never, EVER Ignore.

Why Parents Shouldn’t Ignore These 6 Behavior Problems

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2018). Why Parents Shouldn’t Ignore These 6 Behavior Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 26 Feb 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.