Children are bombarded with all sorts of information and experiences during the first years of their lives. As concerned parents, we try to ensure that our toddlers are exposed to experiences that foster their physical, mental and character development. While it’s encouraging to know we can play a positive role in our child’s behavior development, you need to recognize the aspects of life that influence behavior.
Your child’s DNA has a huge influence on development, but it’s only one part of the behavior development puzzle. For example, identical twins born with shared genetic information who are brought up in different environments will experience different behavior development. The combination of the genetic nature and the environmental nurture influences development and gives each child his own behavioral blueprint.
Your home environment has a tremendous influence on your child’s behavior development. Although most children are naturally upbeat and curious, a home that’s extremely controlling or filled with negativity, chaos and emotional ups and downs can have a profoundly negative effect on a child’s behavior. Because your family environment is your child’s first exposure to social and emotional behavior influences, lack of clear communication and fighting between parents or among siblings can make the world seem unpredictable and frightening. Economic hardships or divorce may lead to less available time together. Carving out one-on-one time with your child and creating an orderly, dependable home routine helps develop a feeling of stability that influences your toddler’s behavior positively.
Small children enjoy watching TV and many are savvy at playing hand-held video games. When we are overly busy or frazzled, it is tempting to let the TV or games entertain the kids for hours. But, a significant amount of evidence links behavioral effects of repeated exposure to media violence, according to a study by Dr. Susan Villani referenced on the website for Missouri Western State University. In simpler terms, behavior by children is influenced by what they are constantly exposed to. By replacing TV with outdoor activities or games that teach creativity or motor dexterity you reduce the tendency for your child to turn into a couch potato and you influence their behavior development in positive ways.
As a parent, your actions and words play an important role in your child’s behavior development that tends to carry through into adult life. Because of your child’s strong dependency and interaction with you, he sees you as a role model. He tries to copy you and trusts what you say. If a parent says the child is stupid or bad, he believes it and it will have a crushing effect on self-esteem. But when a parent shows concern, love and respect, the development of higher self-esteem and confidence typically occurs. Parents whose words conflict with their actions cause confusion for the child