A habit is a repetitive action, a kind of ritual that a child, like an adult, performs to calm down, have fun, get attention, or help himself to cope with difficult or unpleasant situations. Sometimes the habit can be a “symptom” of various complexes: shyness, fear, self-doubt.
Some habits are laid before birth (for example, the baby sucks a finger in the mother’s womb), others are acquired during the transition through the next age line, and there are those that, rooted in early childhood, persist for life.
The reasons for the development of these unique children’s adaptation mechanisms are very different.
Bad habits can be:
- the result of imitation (adults, other children and even cartoon characters or characters of children’s books);
- the result of stressful situations (in the family, in communication with peers) or lack of attention and understanding from relatives;
- consequence of psychological and neurological problems.
Some bad habits, no matter how strange it may sound, are an integral part of normal child development. The habit of calling names and brushing off (“You go!”, “You are a fool!”), Beating and biting, as a rule, retreats after the crisis of growing up, when the crumb understands that there are more effective ways to defend their case and achieve what they want.
It also happens that behavioral patterns become a way to cope with nervousness, fear, self-doubt, internal anxiety. Often these are the consequences of the absence of caress, attention, emotional contact with close people. When the baby is left to himself, he is looking for a way to cope with his experiences.
Here are just a range of actions for his age is small – and now the crumb sucks his finger, bites his nails, treads the earlobe and even pulls out the hair.
When bad habits are – a pun! – harmless age features of the child, there is nothing terrible in them, over time it will outgrow them. From shuffling with feet when walking, fidgeting on a chair, releasing gases in public, picking his nose, playing with hair, pugnaciousness, using abusive words and vermin words (“means”, “che”, “count up”, “well”, etc.) with proper upbringing, after a while there will be no trace.
Be careful when such habits live longer than several months: going beyond the permissible age limits, they can cause a drop in self-esteem and difficulties in communication, and some also are simply dangerous to health. For example, thumb sucking harms the formation of bite, and picking the nose is fraught with wounds, bleeding and even damage to the thin nasal septum. “Sometimes a child can perform actions of a self-destructive nature: beat yourself, pull your hair, bite your lips or inner walls of your blood, tear off burrs around your nails, grit your teeth (especially at night), call yourself a fool, a loser and other criticizing words, in a strong emotional state to break their toys, etc. In such situations, if they repeat regularly, he definitely needs your support and, possibly, the help of a psychologist, ”said counseling psychologist Yulia Kryukova. There are also clearly asocial habits, such as aggressiveness or pocketing other people’s things.
In such cases, helping the child to get rid of bad habits is necessary! After all, he may understand what to do so badly, but not to know how to cope with it.
What to do when you understand: did your child have a “bad” habit? As Carlson used to say: “Calm, just calm!” First of all, let’s decide how to act in any case is not necessary.
It is impossible to scold and punish a child, to laugh at him, to criticize and sharply pull him up, especially in public places: shame, remorse and anxiety can reinforce a negative pattern of behavior. Another dead-end path is manipulations and ultimatums (“If I see you doing this, I will stop buying you candy / take away an ipad / not take you to the cinema anymore”).
In most cases, such measures do more harm than good. Why? Because the little man’s willpower is not sufficiently developed and he cannot yet control his actions clearly.
That is why the words: “It is impossible to do this way” and “This is not good – do not do it more” can make the child feel guilty and even withdraw into himself.
1. Start by increasing the amount of care and attention shown to the baby. Do not be too strict and authoritarian with him. Do not over-load – either mentally or physically.
Do not be annoyed at him, do not intimidate or punish. On the contrary, try to ensure maximum positive impressions: from sincere interest and tactile contact (“hugging” in bed on waking up and a light massage before bed) to delicious food and warm relaxing baths with huge foam caps.
2. Fight the habit, not the child! As a rule, bad habits are close neighbors of the uncomfortable psychological state of the baby. Try to understand what underlies the habit, and you will more or less understand how to cope with it.
If age allows, be sure to talk to him about what worries him, what he does not like, and try to eliminate it. If the crumb is still small, try to easily switch his attention, distract, while quietly and imperceptibly stopping the unwanted action. Choose the time and create an atmosphere for confidential conversations, in plain language telling the child about the natural consequences of his “harmful” actions (in the kindergarten a teer will probably be teased, and refused to be friends with a bullshit or sneak).
Gradually, the baby should understand both the consequences of the bad habit and the advantages of its absence and make the right decision on its own. Of course, you can not push and rush.
3. One of the effective ways to defeat bad habits is a sincere positive reinforcement of the behavior of the child in those moments when he copes with them. In addition to verbal approval, you can, for example, make and hang in a prominent place a beautiful piece of paper, where, if successful, you will fasten stickers together with his favorite cartoon character.
Let your child feel that you are proud of his little victories!
4. Teach him to express his negative emotions and relieve tension. Quite often, precisely because they do not know how (or are afraid) to show their irritation, anger or impatience, children, for example, begin to bite their nails.
Arrange comic battles with pillows, tear up newspapers, knead dough or clay, paint abstract canvases with your palms – do anything to cope with stress and aggression in a playful way.
5. “Forget” about the harmful children’s habit: do not speak out loud about it and do not fix the child’s attention on an undesirable action (“Come on, stop it!”, “Again for your own ?!”, “Immediately stop!”). Believe me, many unhealthy children’s habits die in the bud if you ignore them!
Better talk to your kid about his merits more often.
6. If possible, support your intention with practical solutions. Does he bite his nails?
Cut them short. Sleepy sleeves pajamas?
Wear a short T-shirt and leave the door in the nursery half-open so that the baby can see a line of light, or turn on the night light. Repeats bad words?
Enter a code word (for example, “oh!”) – when there are more than ten of them, there will be “penalties”. As far as possible, loosen the “provoking” elements: hide the smartphone away or give the tablet “for repair”, do not buy a lot of chocolate, make sitting at the computer uncomfortable.
7. All efforts will be in vain if you yourself are carriers of habits that are not a very good example for children, whether they are careless, rude or smoking. In this case, you must first deal with their habits.
Is it any wonder that the crumb looks at you in amazement when you scold him for throwing his things around if Dad does the same thing when he comes home from work?
Julia Kryukova, counselor, existential psychotherapist
I often hear the request at the consultations: “I have to eliminate such a habit in my behavior, and urgently!” I would like to recommend to understand it step by step. There are habits that the child unconsciously “creates” itself to help. For example, babies, one-year-olds, and even older children can suck a finger or a corner of a blanket cover or resort to self-recovery to “rest in peace” (they cried, did not calm when they started crying at night).
There are habits, protests. In families with a lot of rules and restrictions, a child may have a desire to take toys and other children’s things. In principle, any kid may be tempted to touch someone else’s toy or sweets.
But one will not be able to give in to the impulse: he will make an agreement with himself, tell the parent about the “something” he likes, try to change toys. This option shows that in the family the child’s boundaries are not violated, that in the process of his growing up he learned to support himself when something is inaccessible. A completely different picture is when the crumb grows under constant control and supervision, when an adult can at any time punish him for something and select his own child’s toys for a while.
Yes, they were bought by adults, who earned money for the purchase, but after donating this thing belongs to the child, he becomes its owner, right holder! Some adults in a fit of anger forget about it or do not know at all.
Having absorbed such a model of behavior, the child carries it into the world (“If they act badly with me, it means that I can do this with respect to another person”).
Try to revise your parenting guidelines. Do not succumb to the “herd” reasoning: “the other children fall asleep themselves: they will cry and calm down,” “I too were raised in severity – and nothing, I grew up,” etc. Pay attention to the individuality of the child’s habit and try to track it. appearances. If you began to notice something new in your child’s behavior, do not rush to drastically change, interrupt, or reprove it.
Learn your own awareness: ask yourself prompting questions. For example, “When I see my child doing something (sucks a finger, curses, brings other people’s things home, etc.), what happens to me?
What do I feel: anger, confusion, shame, guilt, fear? How do I influence the formation of a child’s behavior? ”By understanding your feelings and condition, looking for ways to help yourself, you will most likely become a great helper for your child.
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