Children’s Bad Habits…Can They Be Broken?
Hints and tips to deal with some of the more common childhood habits
By: totanaliz on: Mon 17 of Sep, 2007 [10:25 UTC] (702 reads)
We all know how frustrating and embarrassing it can be…you turn to introduce your son to a friend you haven’t seen for years, and there his is with his finger stuck up his nose. And not even a glimmer of awkwardness thwarts the burrowing. There are a multitude of bad habits children seem to develop from the word “go”, and many more that they pick up at school , and no amount of threats or bribery seems to deter them.
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The four most common habits are:
- Nail Biting
- Thumb Sucking
- Nose Picking
- Fiddling with or chewing hair
There can be any manner of reasons that these habits occur, but usually they are a source of comfort to a child, or a way of releasing stress. It can also be a way of gaining attention. They are very rarely a cause for concern, unless for example your child stops simply fiddling with their hair and starts pulling it out.
The reason most parents want to deter their child from committing these junior sins is for social acceptability. Sadly a lot of children actually pick up the habits from their parents…a recent survey has revealed that upward of 90% of adults pick their nose regularly, so chastising a child for committing the same act seems a little hypocritical!
The one thing all psychologists agree on is that berating and belittling the child has little if no effect…in fact, if the child uses the habit to calm themselves or lessen stress, an adult shouting or ridiculing them can often exacerbate the problem. So how can we deter them effectively?
- Offer an alternative…when a child is picking there nose or twirling their hair, ask them to clap their hands or make a butterfly with their fingers…they have to be given something more interesting and beneficial than the current occupation!
- Recognise good behaviour…when they manage to avoid a habit, make sure you tell them how pleased you are.
- Offer an incentive…a little girl might stop biting her nails if she knows they will be painted when they grow. Boys will be equally eager to earn stickers…or if all else fails; monetary compensation always has its place!
- Try simply ignoring the behaviour. Most children will out grow it. If you can steel yourself for a few more awkward moments it could be the easiest and shortest route to a socially acceptable child!