My son is almost one year old. He's growing fast and there are a lot of behaviors in life that I'd like to help him avoid, while still giving him the knowledge of what these behaviors are. I'm worried that, as he grows and starts to mimic the people around him, he'll start to develop behaviors that I view as negative.

I want him to be nice, patient and to know what to follow and what not. For example, I want him to know that cursing is a bad thing so that, even if he listens to his elders saying those words, he doesn't adopt that behavior himself.

At what age (or development milestone) would it be best to start engaging in serious discussions with him about the way the world works?

  • Is there any particular behavior you'd like him to avoid doing as he grows older? Or just in general all the bad things that might befall a child. Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 14:57
  • Can you give an example of what you mean by "bad things"? Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 15:12
  • 3
    Welcome to Parenting.SE! This is a really broad question -- I know that parents have lots of worries about broad topics, but unfortunately it makes it a challenge to answer. (For example, teaching "be polite" is different from teaching "eat healthy", and done at different ages.) Can you narrow your question down so it is more focused on a single issue? You are encouraged to ask many questions about many issues, just keep the topic limited so you can get good answers :) Take a look at the tour to get an idea of how our Q&A works. Thanks!
    – Acire
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 15:29
  • To Reed and Brussels, well there are endless bad things to talk about lol but I want him to be nice, be patience and knowing what to follow and what to not, for example I want him to know that cursing is a bad thing so even if he listens his elders saying those words he doesn't apply them in his life.
    – user19897
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 17:04
  • AKC - whole books have been written on lessons to teach a child... Here we need to take smaller chunks, as @Erica pointed out.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


I started at day 1 (but my sister laughed at me).

But seriously if something is wrong explain why in as suitable language as you can

We don't throw stone it might hurt people

How Would you feel if somebody said that to you?

And as they got older I would point out other people being naughty and explain why it was wrong in the same vein

Look at those children they just ran across the road without looking they could have been hit by a car. Do you remember how much it hurt when [insert last thing that hurt them] well being hit by a car hurts much much more than that.

And as you see them getting older and their understanding expanding, and their ability to understand abstract concepts, start having discussions about the big things: consent, bullying, relationships.

Many people believe this works best in the car, and I have found that to be true with my son. But actually any activity where tou are both looking away from each others works just as well, so country walks/hikes etc.
psychologyToday talking in the car

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