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Don't count on kids outgrowing bad behaviour

The finding that an adult's life may, to a certain extent, be predicted in one's childhood is interesting (How well will a kid fare in life? Study offers clues; Oct 8).

The study pointed to self-control, which is the ability to regulate one's emotions in response to experiences, as one key factor.

This holds some lessons for young parents. Occasionally, I hear remarks such as "they are children, let them be", or "they will outgrow their behaviour", from parents when justifying their children's difficult behaviour.

Young parents need to recognise that their children are growing up in a different era. They expect instant gratification. Being impatient or making a loud enough noise are often rewarded.

Instead of believing that the children will outgrow their unwanted behaviour without intervention, I suggest that parents assume these types of behaviour will stick with them unless corrected.

Certainly, there will be times when parents have split opinions about their children's behaviour.

At such times, we can rely on the adage, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

With this, we can teach several important values, such as patience, respect and empathy for others, at the same time.

Tan Chin Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 22, 2017, with the headline 'Don't count on kids outgrowing bad behaviour '. Subscribe