Naughty or Neglected?

My seventh child has been a dream baby. He laughs and giggles freely, he has only drawn on the walls a few times and at 3 years old will sit on my lap and listen to me read several story books at a time. Granted, my perception is partly tainted because there is not a younger child to coo over, so things that may have bothered me if he was not the youngest, just don't. Things like his whining at me this morning to draw him an electric eel while I was trying to do Bible time, or getting off his chair when he is supposed to be eating his dinner.


There was a day this week though that didn't go so well. I had to leave early in the morning and was gone for most of the day. My son was also a little sick with a cold and I am sure it affected how happy he felt.

Later that afternoon I was astonished by his behavior. He was pulling down the folded clothes his sister was working on and pulling out the hair of his older brother. Jumpy, obnoxious and irritating were words that could be used to describe this normally very nice little guy.

It made me reflect a bit on some of the other 3 and 4 year olds I know. How much of our children's behavior is personality and how much is a response to their environment? Reading books like Montessori From The Start and the Bible have made me very motivated to keep our home environment calm, but we certainly don't succeed all the time. Still, could it be possible that those children of ours who act up could possibly be looking for attention or some hugs (sensory input) or guidance.

I do realize that some children have special needs that go beyond attention and hugs. I have a child who, when small, could melt down over an itchy tag in her shirt so I am not suggesting that badly behaving children are always the result of parental inattention. Just putting the idea out there that some of these adorable little three year olds are getting a bad rap, when what they are really looking for is a mom who will sit down with them for a few minutes (and make them sit down) and tell them a story or better yet, listen to their stories. Something that, on this particular day, I had failed to do.

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