What qualities distinguish the well-behaved child? He is, in essence, a young person who has a healthy sense of self, who gets along well with family and friends, who has the inner resources and self-control needed to regulate his actions in the world at large. But such a child does not simply happen.
He is the product of long learning process, one that begins in the earliest days of life and continues throughout the years of childhood. What babies and young children understand best is the unstinting love of their parents- and of the many foundation stones of good behavior, parental love is surely the greatest.
At the outset, it gives your child the sense of security he needs to develop trust in the world and in other people. As a child grows older, the abiding love of his mother and father also gives him the feeling that he is special, a person worthy of regards, thus building his self-esteem.
Child development experts agree that high self- esteem is vital prerequisite to good behavior, as well as to overall social and emotional adjustments throughout life. The youngster who feels good about himself has a much greater incentive to behave well than the child who does not have such a positive self-image to maintain.
Out of the loving bond with his parents grows another important characteristic of the well-behaved child: the realization that his mother and father and the other people in his life have feelings and needs just as he does, and that he must respect others feelings in order to get along.
It takes years for a young child to comprehend fully how his actions impinge on other people-that through his behavior, for example, he can make a friend feel happy or sad.
During the preschool years he may be incapable of identifying with the hurts, fears and joys of those around him. But at the very least he can be taught to respect the feelings of those he comes into direct contact with. A child will benefit greatly from being rewarded with praise whatever he is thoughtful towards the people around him.