You are the mom always wishing that your child would just “behave” like the others. While other infants slept really well, yours did not; while other toddlers sat in their high chairs quietly, yours spent the time throwing food all over and trying to escape! Now that toddler is in school, and things haven’t changed much – s/he is always the one refusing to conform, getting into trouble for a variety of behaviors, and you are pretty frustrated. Step back, breathe, and get some perspective. These “naughty” children are most often the ones who will be the movers and shakers of the world. And they have a number of traits that you actually admire in adults you know or know of!
1. They are Independent
You admire people who are self-sufficient; you admire people who think for themselves. But you don’t always admire that in your child. When s/he refuses to put toys away and get ready for bed because the “project” is not finished, you are frustrated; when your youngster refuses to wear the clothes you have set out or sets out on his/her own in a crowded mall, you are stressed. Refusal to conform at home and/or school has always been a common trait for individuals who have left their “mark” on society, so embrace it, stay vigilant, and try to focus only on the really important stuff, like not getting run over by a car!
2. They Are Creative
Creativity fosters behaviors that may drive you crazy as a parent, but without creativity, society would not move forward. Recently, a parent of such a child was absolutely mortified when called in for a meeting with a teacher. The writing assignment had been typical for 4th grade – “What do you want to be when you grow up and why?” Her daughter had written that she wanted to be a hooker because she would get paid in cash and avoid taxes, and she could sleep late in the mornings. Creativity at work!
3. They Are Sensitive
Your “naughty” child will not put up with injustice. Particularly during the teen years, this can become a source for a lot of conflict at school. Your kiddo may loudly protest if a fellow student is being mistreated by a teacher or principal, and will often get him/herself in trouble as well. What if there were no people who protested injustice? Before you condemn your child for his/her behavior, get the facts – you may want to be a bit more supportive!
4. They Have A Strength Of Spirit
Your child may want to make “statements,” in dress, hairstyle, etc. Your child may “speak his/her mind” and become obnoxious and rude as a teen. While this is frustrating and un-nerving, get some perspective. How many public figures have you admired for their strength of spirit? How about Ghandi or Mandela? How about the Dalai Lama? People with strength of spirit make it through adversity when all other “fold.”
5. They Are Outspoken
These kids will say whatever is on their minds – usually the same stuff that others are thinking but won’t say. While you may be mortified when your child goes up to a disfigured person on the street and says, “Why does you face look like that,” understand that, as adults, these people will be honest and forthright, and we all admire people like that. I fact, wouldn’t it be great if we had more government leaders like this?
6. They Have High Energy Levels
This can be exhausting at times, particularly during toddler and young childhood years, but this is an admirable trait in an adult. If the energy level is too much for you to bear, then get that kid into some physically-demanding activity. The mother of Michael Phelps, Olympic champion, states that she began his swimming lessons because his energy level was just too high for her. Look where it all ended?
7. They Have Ambition
While that ambition as a child may translate to crazy and sometimes dangerous behaviors, you have to admire the tenacity of a youngster who will not give up. This is the child who will take lots of risks in attempts to achieve something (think climbing up a tree with no idea of how to get down), and those risks may be alarming, but, without adult risk-takers, we would not have landed on the moon.
8. They May be ‘Scientists’
They have crazy ideas and learn by doing. This may not be so wonderful when you have a small kitchen fire as the result of their experimentation – it just means that you will have to be more vigilant as a parent without discouraging this innate curiosity.
9. They Have Higher Than Average Intelligence
Sometimes, it is just boredom that causes the “naughtiness” – this is often a sign of giftedness. Boredom, however, leads to unwanted behavior, because they will always find something to spark their interests. Bored children are behavior problems in school, and you may have to become a bit of an advocate in that regard.
10. They Learn Quickly
Even if it is the wrong type of learning, count on your child picking up every behavior that you and others may see as really inappropriate. A young child on her first airline flight heard the loud noise of the wheels coming down for landing and quite loudly exclaimed,” Oh sh**! He broke it!” She learned well.
11. They Have Emotional Extremes
They laugh, scream and cry too loudly. Accept this. As they grow older, they will still have these extremes but they will be more appropriate in expressing them. Each of us yells at times; each of us has extreme emotional reactions. Not allowing a child to have those is simply unfair.
12. They Have A Good Sense Of Humor
And they may find humor in situations that you do not find funny at all. Your child may laugh uproariously when the family dog grabs the Thanksgiving turkey off the counter 30 minutes before meal time. Your anger at him/her for doing so is unwarranted. And years later, it will be a topic of many humorous stories!
13. They Have Conviction
Whatever they believe they will hold to it firmly. This can be troublesome for parents and teachers as they try to convince a child that a belief may be illogical or untrue, and as teens, these convictions can operate for tremendous good or not. Still, as adults, we do admire those who live by their principles and will not compromise them for expediency.
14. They Are Lovable
Who cannot help but has all of these traits? Yes, they are difficult; yes, they are frustrating; and yes, you will get angry and sometimes embarrassed. But, being good all of the time is not a natural state for kids, and those are the kids that should probably be cause for concern. So, rejoice in your child’s naughtiness – it will reap benefits later on!