All children manifest behavior which might be called negativistic at
sometime during early childhood. Such behavior can be expected as a child approaches the age of 2. It reaches a peak during the 3rd year of life and normally diminishes thereafter. Negativism can be expected to become prominent again during adolescence. Reasonable amounts of negativism should be recognized as healthy expressions of a developing psyche. However, it is not always easy to distinguish between excessive negativism and what might be interpreted as a deviation from normal. Common manifestations include outright refusal to do whatever is proposed, doing the opposite of what is asked, refusal generally to conform, and excessive dawdling.
If excessive negativism occurs, there should be a search for unduly restrictive childrearing practices or situations in which the parents tend to be autocratic, excessively critical, nagging, or domineering. In addition to appropriate counseling for the parents, nursery school experience may be helpful
It is useful for the parents not to concern themselves directly with negativistic behavior. They should pay concern in the positive aspects of behavior and reward this appropriately the practice of meeting resistance with resistance tends in create a struggle of wills between larval and child.
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