If you are parenting a child who is less than 10, you can probably jot down at least 10 habits of his/her that get your goat. From screaming for attention to hijacking conversations and asking you to read the same passage a zillion times in a single night, the list is quite long. Here are some top actions that many parents identify with…

Scribbling on surfaces
For most children, surfaces act as a canvas that helps mould their artistic abilities. They find scribbling on walls, newspapers, office files and leather sofa using markers, crayons, pencils, watercolours and at times, mud, very liberating. While there’s really nothing you can do to stop them — no, buying them their own sketch book doesn’t help either — we strongly suggest you paint the walls using stain-resistant colours and keep harmful tools away from their reach.

Biting and scratching
Aggressive behaviour, like biting, scratching, pulling and tugging, are a part of their growth and development. Every adult would have, at least on one occasion, played the peacemaker between two warring kids who are ever ready to bite off each other’s head. So, stop obsessing about how violent they have become and run for cover.

Choosy about food
If your child throws a fit when you feed him/her spinach and insists on having fried potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you are not alone. Child psychologist Varsha Dixit says, “Expose children to a variety of vegetables and fruits from as early as eight months. It will take them a while to get used to different tastes.”

Asking to repeat words/passages
Varsha adds, “Toddlers who are just learning to speak often repeat words. Parents and those around him/her will have to keep saying a phrase or word over and over. As they grow elder, they expect us to read the same story and sing the same song again. So, even if you’ve sung Jack and Jill 20 times already today, you have no option but to repeat it if you want to aid your child’s development.”

Throwing tantrums in public
‘No’ might be their favourite phrase, but it can’t be yours. Refuse to buy them chocolates or that expensive game and prepare yourself to see them turn green. Throwing tantrums, wailing, whining and bringing the roof down are their ways of letting off steam. Instead of shutting your ears to their whining, teach them ways to handle rejection and cope with outbursts.

Picking nose
Though nose-picking is quite natural for them, it can get embarrassing for the parents when they do it in front of guests. Sunanda Ghosh, a homemaker, says, “My three-year-old son not only picks his nose, but I’ve also caught him trying to put it in his mouth. I hit his hands and tell him it’s not good to do so because it is unhealthy.”

Breaking things
Vriksha Khanna, an HR professional and mother of a six-year-old boy, says she has packed all things precious and stacked them in the loft. “My home is bare of all artefacts since the last four years. Initially, in his curiosity to know what they were, he broke two vases and a photo frame and almost crashed the book rack to the ground. And as he grew, his habit of playing inside the house posed a threat. I weep every time I think of how he broke the wooden mask I brought from Cairo,” she recalls.

Lacking patience
Many children don’t like waiting and want to have/do whatever their heart desires now! And when they can’t have it their way, the tantrums begin. So start early and teach them it always can’t be their way or the highway.

Lingering on
Toddlers are in that phase of life when they aren’t pressed for time or have a strict deadline to adhere to. While as parents, you feel happy they can be carefree, it can be quite annoying when they dawdle, dilly dally and drag their feet when you have absolutely no time to waste. Anu Singha, a journalist, says, “My daughter takes her own sweet time to get ready for school, and it irks me especially when I have to attend press meets before 9am. I sometimes feel she is in her own bubble.

Acting all clingy

 Having your kid wrapped around your legs (figuratively, we mean) can be quite irritating, especially when you are trying to catch up with your friends or shop in peace. There are times when the grandparents or other relatives have to literally tear him/her away from you. While this can cause serious annoyance, remember the child is clinging to you because he/she feels the safest in your warmth.
 Asking ‘why’ and Saying ‘no’
 Turns out, most kids love saying ‘no’, irrespective of what they really want. This two-alphabet word is their favourite answer to all questions ranging from ‘Can we read your lessons?’ to ‘Will you have khichdi or dal rice for lunch?’ Answering in negative and asking ‘why’, studies say, is a child’s way of asserting himself/herself and carving an identity. So, the next time they say ‘no’, they might not be acting stubborn and difficult, but just feeling important that they have a choice.”