Bad Habits in Children and Tips To Deal With Them
Although every child is an angel in their parents’ eyes, most will agree that some habits can get on the nerves of even those with the patience of a saint. Here is an insider’s view into these bad habits and tips on how you can deal with them as a parent.
However, when you want your change unwanted behavior in your child, you should first try to understand why the child is doing in the first instance. It’s said that the bad habits that the children have are mostly situational coping strategies. Children do these things when they are either stressed or unhappy, frustrated, tired or insecure. Sometimes it could also be an attention-grabbing strategy. Children find these habits calming and soothing.
None of these habits are life-threatening or indicative of any serious health problem. Most children forget these when they grow and these habits are no longer part of their adult lives. However, managing the ‘bad’ behaviors can be difficult.
Here are the tips that you can use to break bad habits/behaviors in your children.
The first rule here is to ignore whatever your child is doing. Remember these are the traits of most children and they will outgrow these with time.
Do Not Give Attention
As written previously, some children do these activities, not out of habit, but to get attention. So, at best you must ignore them at times. Giving them any attention, even if it’s negative, may actually encourage them to repeat the behavior or pick up another bad habit.
Praise Your Child
All of us feel happy when we are praised for something good we did. Similarly, you must praise your child for good behavior. For example, when you notice your child is engaged in activities other than the ones mentioned above, praise him/her. You can say something like, “I noticed you did not suck your thumb today. That’s good.” Or you also say, “What a good day it has been today. You did not bite your nails.”
Making your child quit bad habits or behavior is always impossible unless you use harsh methods which are not advisable. You need to have patience and wait for the child to realize that he/she may be doing wrong by biting nails or sucking fingers or picking the nose. For instance, if your child sucks thumb all day and you have no way to get him out of the habit, tell him it’s gross and others will hesitate to shake hands with him. Over time he will realize his folly and will give it up completely.
Focus on One Behavior at a Time
If your child has several bad habits or behaviors that you want him to change, start with the most important ones. You cannot concentrate on all behaviors at the same time as it’s nearly impossible for you to take charge of all his habits at once.
Get to the Root of the Problem
Another way you can address the problems of bad behavior is to try and get to the root of the problem. Check why is your child doing this? Did he learn from other kids in the neighborhood or apartment? Does he have any health issues? Is he feeling insecure? Does he miss others at home? Ask him and try to figure out the problem. Ask him in a way he doesn’t feel awkward or bad. Be polite in asking him.
Engage Your Child in Other Activities
Another way you can keep your child away from these habits is to get them engaged in some activities like giving them a toy, taking them to a park or even leaving them to play with other kids in the neighborhood or building. When children are engaged in playful activities, they will not have the thoughts of doing any bad habits or behavior.
Imparting a sense of right behavior in the early years will go a long way in tackling the problem. As a parent, you need to have patience and trust in your child.
You have to go easy on the kids and don’t get so worked up about their behavior. They are just kids and most things they are doing now are something you probably did as a child too. Remind them and talk to them about the ill-effects of these habits.