The range that exists between normal and abnormal behavior is a fine balance that is ascertained by an individual's physical, mental and cultural being. Normal behavior can therefore be defined as behavior that is exhibited by a person who is thought to be fully functioning within his/her society. Consequently, a normal person can be considered as a person who adheres to rules and regulations within a given society while at the same time maintaining a balance of existence. This definition may generate a false perception about abnormal behavior being restricted to non-compliant behavior on the social requirements of a given society. However, this is not true because in reality, abnormal behavior is a state of emotion which drives an individual to act inappropriately in the society.Abnormality is therefore a subjectively defined attribute of behavior that is ascribed to people with unusual or dysfunctional conditions. It can be defined as the practice of deviating or differing from what is deemed to be normal. The classification of normal and abnormal behavior has always been an issue of contention in the field of abnormal psychology. Nevertheless, professionals in this field have agreed upon certain established standards that can be used to classify normal and abnormal behavior. In very critical situations, some professionals resort to using their own judgment to evaluate behavior. However, more standardized tests such as the Multiphasic Personality Index/MMPI-Adolescent, abbreviated as MMPI/MMPI-A are used (Patricia, 2007).
The process of evaluating abnormal and normal behavior in infants involves the analysis of numerous variables. Therefore, the labeling of behavior as abnormal or normal in infants is often influenced by parental attitudes which are determined by factors such as parental temperaments, the childrearing experience, the psychological status of the parents and the bonding process. Child characteristics such as affective responses, wakefulness and sleep, and the modes of crying can be used to assess if they are normal or abnormal (Patricia, 2007).
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In conclusion, it is important to note that the process of distinguishing between normal and abnormal behavior is not a simple task. This is because normal people may sometimes exhibit symptoms of abnormal behavior. For instance, an individual who becomes tensed before sitting for a test can not be said to be suffering from a mental disorder. Nevertheless, the same person may be considered to be exhibiting an abnormal behavior if he becomes so nervous and decides to avoid the exam.