Call of the Wild: on Toddler Manners

In Your FaceOr lack thereof?

My adorable, handsome, sweet and charming toddler-boy is perhaps less so at times. I mean, even when he’s dishing out some major sauce in his various and oh-so-creative ways, he’s still cute. It’s how these toddlers survive.

I know it’s something all toddlers do; it’s all in how they experiment and learn. Things we find rude or gross are things they find hilarious. (Heck, sometimes, it is funny. Appropriate manners as deemed by societal ideals be damned).

It can be tricky, teaching one’s toddler the in’s and out’s of what’s appropriate, when and where. I mean, in the privacy of our own home — a few giggles over farts and burps, sure, fine. Having it evolve in constant progression around strangers and when meeting new people? Not so much.

So do we just try and cut it all out instead of confusing the poor lad with our ideas on when it’s okay to joke about farts and when it’s not? Kids will be kids after all and they think all of this bodily function stuff is hilarious because, I guess, in some gross way it is.

Which takes me farther away from my point, because thankfully — we’re not there yet. With the fart jokes. So I’ll stop talking about them now. What we ARE experiencing right now are some rather impolite ways of socializing with new peeps…

Lately he’s taken to running at/around people and spitting  (the tongue rolling kind) at them. Not cool right? Don’t think for one second that I don’t try and stop that action in its tracks. The thing of it is, people engage in this behaviour with him. They find him oh-so-cute and OMG! Hilarious! Which makes getting him to stop or understand that it’s not very polite quite difficult.

He usually interchanges the maniacal run and spit, while screeching with laughter, coupled with roaring at the top of his lungs, meere inches from a person’s face. Not sure where he picked that one up from, probably preschool. Although he is crushing on The Jungle Book hardcore right now, the movie and the book — which promotes bear-like behaviour. So there’s that.

I don’t want to deter him from being wild and free, in so much as I don’t want him to annoy the heck out of people (or me). I want to try and help him discover new ways of communicating with people, flirting with the ladies (he does it, so I might as well train him young), and playing with his peers.

Don’t get me wrong, my kid is charming and smart and engages with people in a whole bunch of amazing, smart and totally “acceptable” (whatever that means) ways too. He’s a boss when it come to dishing out the please’s and thank-you’s, and does it so of his own accord now.

It’s just that the roaring and the spitting have grown in frequency. So has the hitting of other children at the park. Getting a little too aggressive in his play with others. I admit that I feel a bit lost with how to handle it all, but I know I better get over that real quick and step up to the plate in the most steady, loving, thoughtful way I can.

Toddler meltdowns? I feel like I can handle. This stuff? Halp.

Do you have any words of advice? Should I be over-concerned with this behaviour? Help a mama out!

More Babbles From Selena…


Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Creative Director. Social Media & Branding Consultant. Regular writer on Disney Baby. Part-time big-mouth & frequent foot-eater. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago
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