How to break these 11 bad habits in your kids

At some stage in their childhood, kids pick up bad and annoying habits that we try so hard to make them stop. They can range from anything as simple as sucking their thumb or even biting when angry.

Habits are hard to break whether the person is big or small. Basically a habit is an act that a person does repetitively.

Most kids aren’t even aware of the habit that they have picked up or become a victim to. Unfortunately in the cases of kids, it becomes the duty of parents to break the bad habit in their kids.

Let us discuss how we can get our kids to stop them:

  • Lying

Small children usually don’t know what lies are. They might include facts of their vivid imagination in their talks, which are of course to us called lies.

  • How to deal with lying?
  1. Praise the child for being honest about something wrong he or she has done, instead of reprimanding. They will be encouraged to tell the truth.
  2. Never punish the child for the lie but instead just withhold a treat or favorite to make the child understand the importance of his telling the truth.
  3. Never call your child a liar. It has a negative impact on the child.
  4. Ask the question in such a way so that he is not encouraged to tell a lie. For example don’t ask him upright, ‘Did you break this?’ He will be tempted to lie. Instead ask him, ‘This thing is broken. Next time please remember not to rush through the hallway.’
  • Hateful words

Most children pick up bad words from adults. As a matter of fact, the smaller kids don’t even understand what they are saying. They just use these words to express anger and know that these words have some negative effect on the person they are addressing it to.

  • How to deal with hateful words?
  1. Listen to what he has to say and accept his or her frustration.
  2. Be calm and do not react or give reaction to the bad words, else he will be tempted to use them again after seeing the impact these words have on you.
  3. Concentrate on the wrong of the child on saying these words.
  4. Explain what he is saying is wrong and not to repeat it and that you love him but will not tolerate bad behavior at any cost.
  • Whining

All of us whine, but whining by kids can really get onto people’s nerves. Kids use this tactic in the hope that asking a million times will eventually lead to a yes. They feel that asking persistently will annoy their parents so much they will eventually budge and give in.

  • How to deal with whining?
  1. Never agree no matter what, as your child should understand that no amount of pleading or begging is going to let him get what he wants.
  2. You can promise the thing he or she is asking for if they really need it if they promise to do a good deed or stop whining.

Example: You can state that if they stop bugging you for stuff, you might consider giving it to them at a later date and are on their best behavior.

  • Bossiness

Kids usually learn this bad behavior pattern from us. They watch us constantly give orders to them so they assume it to be completely normal behavior that they can impose on others.

  • How to deal with bossiness?
  1. Compliment him when he shares or shows an act of kindness to someone.
  2. Show him in your actions that it is good to compromise sometimes.
  3. Try not to give direct orders to him and instead ask him politely in such a way he can’t refuse.
  • Thumb sucking

This is a habit that most kids pick up from childhood. It offers comfort to them. Don’t be surprised to note that they resort to it when they are new strange circumstances or is stressed.

  • How to deal with thumb sucking?
  1. Keep the hands busy.
  2. Ask the child repeatedly not to suck and make up a story of how it might make her or him look ugly.
  3. Do not yell or scold.
  4. Praise him or her when he keeps the thumb away from his mouth for long periods of time.
  5. Affix a bandage on the child finger to remind him not to put the finger in the mouth, or you can even go to the extreme and apply a bitter tasting solution on the finger he puts in the mouth.
  • Biting and hitting

Even small children experience anger and frustration. As a matter of fact, the ones that do not know how to channelize this emotion land up resorting to these measures such as biting and hitting.

This habit has to be nipped in the bud.

How to deal with beating and hitting?

  1. Say it out ‘NO’.
  2. Make it clear that biting and hitting are not to be resorted to at any cost.
  3. Do not make any allowances.
  4. Give the child a time-out so that the child can cool down and then later explain the consequences of his act.
  5. Take away a privilege so that he can understand the extent of his actions.
  6. Observe and note when your child reacts this way and try to control the external factors that cause him to act that way.
  • Hair twiddling

It might look harmless but it actually is a habit picked up by toddlers when they are nervous or stressed.

  • How to deal with hair curling or twiddling?
  1. Consider cutting hair unless you want your daughter to have long hair.
  2. Keep her mind occupied at all times.
  3. Keep nails trimmed
  4. Keep tissue and napkins always with him and encourage him to use them.
  • Nail biting

Nail biting usually starts out due to dry skin around the finger nails. The nail becomes brittle and in the move to make the edges even, they bite. What starts as a simple one time bite becomes a habit.

  • How to deal with nail biting?
  1. Affix bandages on child’s fingers to remind them to stop biting or you can even apply a bitter solution.
  2. Moisturize the area well.
  3. Feed the child healthy food that promotes healthy nail growth, especially protein enriched food.
  4. Apply coats of paint that are made especially to strengthen the nails.
  • Lip biting or licking

This habit usually starts out when the lips get dry or chapped. So the child will keep licking his lips or biting off the dry skin.

Once you lick or bite your lips, the lips keep getting rough. So on account of making the lips back to normal, they land up making lip biting and licking a constant habit.

  • How to deal with lip biting or licking?
  1. Apply petroleum jelly or a lip balm to moisturize the lips.
  2. Remind them not to chew their lips.
  •  Teeth grinding

This habit occurs in very few children. Some do it intentionally, while others do it in their sleep. It could be a sign of nervousness or stress or it could be a subconscious effort to correct an irregular bite. Most kids stop with age. If it doesn’t then you should be concerned and visit your doctor.

  • How to deal with teeth grinders?
  1. Reduce stress that they deal with in their day to day lives
  2. Take them for regular checkups.
  3. Do not reprimand them as they don’t even know that they do it.
  • Nose picking

As gross as this habit may sound and look, a lot of kids and grownups too do it. The idea is revolting. So why do children pick their noses? Some do it out of curiosity, to find out what’s in there and the rest do it as an act of boredom or stress.

But there are some children who do it because of their allergies. They always feel as if there is something up their nose.

  • How to deal with nose pickers?
  1. Explain to the child why he or she shouldn’t do it.
  2. They usually stop on their own.
  3. If it is caused due to the allergy, visit the doctor for a solution.

Now that you have the solutions to most habits of children, you can try these tips to get them off the habit. But then again, remember one thing, they are children so do not be harsh on them. Each child is different. Some take longer than others to stop.

The key is to be patient and keep trying.