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Typical Child Behavior

by Erica Loop, studioD

Typical child behavior comes in three basic types: Wanted or approved, tolerated under special circumstances and completely not approved, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. While not all of your child's behaviors will be positive, that doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't typical for her age and developmental stage.

Wanted Behaviors

In most parents' eyes, the top of typical behavior includes wanted, or expected, actions. The experts at the Healthy Children website explain these types of behaviors as those that parents approve. These might include social niceties such as acting in a polite manner toward adults and friends, listening while others are speaking or using encouraging rather than discouraging or aggressive language. Additionally, wanted behaviors include expectations for school such as doing homework without a fuss and respecting the teacher. In general, wanted behaviors cover those that are positive and show off your child's developed skills such as self-regulation or emotional expression.

Tolerated Behaviors

While no parent expects her child to be perfect 100 percent of the time, some types of misbehavior are expected. Although misbehavior is typically thought of as negative, some are fairly normal under certain circumstances. According to the Healthy Children website, some children might act out or engage in unwanted behaviors during times of high stress or illness. For example, your child might get moody and act sullen when she has a head cold. This doesn't mean that her poor behavior is here to stay. Instead, it is circumstantial and will most likely pass when the stressor, or illness, fades away.

Behaviors Not to Tolerate

Misbehaviors, or those that you should not tolerate or accept under any circumstance, aren't always abnormal issues. Although a preschooler throwing a tantrum, a grade-schooler talking back or a middle-schooler slamming a door are certainly not wanted behaviors, they are actions that more kids than not engage in. Just because your child acts out, has an outburst or two, gets moody or argues with you, doesn't mean it's a cause for alarm.

Anxieties and Fears

Anxious or fearful behaviors might seem troubling but, according to the child development experts at the Kids Health website, they could be normal. While no parent wishes that their child experiences fear, anxieties can help children to behave in safer ways. For example, between the ages of 7 and 12, fears surrounding scary circumstances such as injury, illness or natural disasters might creep up on the developing child. Those fears can help kids behave in a precautionary way, avoiding unnecessary dangers and engaging in positive actions such as not talking to strangers or taking a stance against peer pressure. As long as your child can keep any fears under control, these behaviors typically fall under the normal category. If her anxieties seem out of control, skewed toward the phobic side or keep her from her daily activities, consult a medical or psychological professional for an expert opinion.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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