Will Your Toddler Grow up to be a Criminal?

Katherine - posted on 02/08/2011 ( 13 moms have responded )




Have an ill-behaved toddler? Researchers say you may want to prepare yourself for jail visits later in life. According to a story in The Telegraph, a new study says children as young as 3 who are naughty are more likely to experience everything from drug and financial problems to a life of crime.

Let's see, based on the children I know that means THEY ARE ALL DOOMED.

They looked at 1,000 children in New Zealand, and had teachers and parents rank them on things like "low frustration tolerance, lacks persistence in reaching goals, difficulty sticking with a task, overactive, acts before thinking, has difficulty waiting turn, restless, not conscientious." They found those toddlers who didn't fare so well in these areas also didn't fare so well later in life.

They may as well reserve a jail cell for my children now.

Those impulsive toddlers are also at risk for credit card debt, and alcohol and drug issues, plus things like: Breathing problems, gum disease, sexually transmitted disease, inflammation, being overweight and high cholesterol and blood pressure. Dear lord, my spunky daughter's future isn't looking so bright.

Those "risk factors' read like a toddler job description to me. And sure there are levels of out of control, but those can vary about as frequently as my daughter wants to change her dress -- like every two minutes. Just because toddlers don't do well on them doesn't mean parents aren't working on them and they won't learn eventually ... at least I hope so.

"This shows self-control is important by itself, apart from all other factors that siblings share, such as their parents and home life," said Prof Terrie Moffitt.

The good news, I guess, is that if children are more difficult when they're younger, it can send a signal that more discipline, or therapy, or something is necessary to help put a little brightness in their otherwise doomed futures. Self-control school, here we come.

Does your toddler exhibit any of these at-risk behaviors? Or perhaps better put, does anyone's toddler NOT exhibit any of these at-risk behaviors?


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Amie - posted on 02/08/2011




The study did say the problems could be corrected, if caught early enough. Just goes to show that lazy parents turn out crap children.

I did have an over the top, out of control toddler. Ask a few of the women on here who know me well. When I offer up my 3 year old, they're the first ones to tell me to get bent. (Ya, a few of us have been around a long time, lol) They helped me get through her terrible time, they helped keep me sane and watched as we went from a toddler I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy to a well adjusted, happy toddler. She's doing fine. It's in the parenting.

The one who wrote this article(in the OP) though, does not appear to have read the entire article (in the telegraph) or she would have seen this:

"However the researchers said the good news was that self control could be taught – especially if the youngsters were caught early enough.

Participants who found a way to improve their self-control as they grew up fared better in adulthood than their childhood scores would have predicted.

Prof Caspi said: "This shows self-control is important by itself, apart from all other factors that siblings share, such as their parents and home life."

Professor Alexis Piquero, at Florida State University who was not involved in the research, said: "The good news is that self-control can change. People can change." "

Stifler's - posted on 02/08/2011




Bahahahaha 3 year olds are all naughty and do these things sometimes.

Jodi - posted on 02/08/2011




Well, hey girls, at least look at it this way, all our kids will be good company for one another in jail.

What a crock of shit.

[deleted account]

To some degree all toddlers have done and will do these bahaviors. However, my children know what they can and cannot do at home as well as out in public. Do they forget from time to time? yes. However, a gentle reminder and they straighten right up. My kids have no problems with focus, sticking to things, completing things, and so on. They have each completed at least 2 yrs of martial arts and still would be doing it if we could afford it. That alone has shown each of them that they can stick to both the big and little things in life. They can do them well and even learn when they don't.
However, I do agree with the study in so far as there are a lot of kids out there that cannot and do not have expectations put upon them. They don't finish things because they don't have to, (big or small) and they just jump from one thing to another because they can and haven't been taught any better. For those children I truly do feel for them because I too see those children behind bars at least once or twice as they get older.

Becky - posted on 02/08/2011




Well, I guess my boys will be joining all of yours in toddler jail! *Shakes head* I don't know any toddlers who don't behave in these ways at least some of the time!

[deleted account]

Lisa, about 4 months ago I made the decision to stop spanking my son. My MIL actually told me that he's gonna end up in jail. According to her logic, her parents spanked her but never laid a finger on her two brothers. Her two brothers have spent their adult lives in and out of jail. I told her that I bet if you asked every person in jail if they were spanked, the majority of them were...and more.

And about the article? I guess my kid is doomed too. Not.

Minnie - posted on 02/08/2011




low frustration tolerance, lacks persistence in reaching goals, difficulty sticking with a task, overactive, acts before thinking, has difficulty waiting turn, restless, not conscientious."

Sounds like a typical toddler to me.

On a related note, I have been told by a family member that if I don't whip my children that they WILL grow up to be juvenile delinquents, drug dealers and murderers.

Amber-Dawn - posted on 02/08/2011




Oh dear. Well, I hope that my toddlers 4x4 cell is going to be warm at least. And that Big Bubba Jane treats her nicely

Jenni - posted on 02/08/2011




What's the point in even trying to teach them right from wrong, good skills, discipline. According to this our efforts are all in vain. Might as well just let my son run around like a savage, paint my walls, hit other kids, yell like a crazed lunatic, bath the cat in toothpaste... he's doomed anyways... :P

Tracey - posted on 02/08/2011




According to this 99% of children I have ever taught are going to be criminals.

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