Dealing With Your Child's Unpleasant Habits

by Ruth Thomas - Date: 2006-12-16 - Word Count: 1594 Share This!

Head Banging

Young children between the ages of and one and two may indulge in this form of senselessness. Children head bang for one of two reasons, either because they are unable to get their own way and so they do this as part of their temper tantrum, or purely because they enjoy it! Yes I know that this may sound a little strange but they actually do enjoy the sensation it creates. You may find that your child does this when they are bored or just tired. For some children head banging particularly gentle head banging can be as soothing as sucking their thumb. The gentle rhythmic motion can help them fall asleep. If this is the case then you need not worry. Head banging is not known to damage the child's brain and the child rarely goes out of their way to hurt themselves, it just sounds worse than it really is. If your toddler indulges in this habit within their cot, then you could place padding around their cot bars and pillows under the cot's legs to soften the sound. If however your toddler head bangs for attention or because they are unable to get their own way, then try to divert their attention. If you don't succeed then just leave them to it and walk away. They will soon learn that this sort of self-destructive behaviour does not receive any attention from you and they most certainly won't get what they want. They will realise good behaviour is rewarded and bad behaviour is not. If you are still worried then you needn't be. Children grow out of this habit by the age of two. Just hang in there and be persistent and consistent in how you handle your child's behaviour and you will get there!

Picking Noses

If your toddler picks their nose, then just try to divert them and give them plenty to do to keep those little fingers active. If you decide that your diversion tactics have not worked, then just be firm when you ask them not to do it again. If your children are still doing this at a much older age, then hand them a tissue to blow their nose with and explain to them the importance of hygiene. A lot of nose picking is done in secret (even we adults do this from time to time although you wouldn't catch us admitting it!) therefore make sure your children wash their hands frequently and any surfaces they touch are cleaned regularly. Here is an extract from my autobiography that you may find amusing. I was about two or three years old when this event occurred and I remember it as if it was yesterday.

Chapter 5

Dreadful Things I Did

"Ah, yes in my room at last", I said. "Ruth", my mum shouted, "I'm going in the shower dear". "Good!" I said, "dad's downstairs, so I can pick my nose in peace. "This cardboard looks as if it could do the job!" I picked up the piece of cardboard and examined it. I decided to shove it up my nose. "Easy now, careful" I said, "don't push it too far up. Wow! Look at that bogie!!! Where shall I put it?" I said, "My trousers look a great place to wipe it. Easy now, careful! Don't push it too far up. Ouch! Oh no it's stuck!! Help I'm bleeding. Dad help!" I screamed. My dad came running up the stairs to my rescue. "Ruth, what's the matter? You're bleeding ," my dad said. I just pointed to my nose and said, "I can't breathe daddy." My dad looked very worried and rushed me off to the hospital. "Hello little one, what's your name?" the doctor asked in a concerned manner. "My name's Ruth and your a doctor aren't you?" I said. "Yes, tilt your head back that's it," the doctor said. Turning to my dad with an amused expression on his face "Oh dear Sir, your daughter has got a piece of cardboard stuck up her nose." The doctor went and got a pair of tweezers and for the next hour and a half tried to get the cardboard out of my nose. The doctor was afraid that if it went too far up, I would stop breathing altogether. "I can't get the cardboard out," the doctor said , "you'll just have to hope that Ruth breathes it up far enough that it can be passed through the digestive system." My dad and I finally left the hospital and went home. I felt very disturbed and vowed in my young heart that I would NEVER do that again, and I haven't.

Can you associate with this? Does this sound familiar to you? Children love getting themselves into trouble just at the very moment that you are busy doing something and I was no exception! Children find their noses rather intriguing and love to explore this part of their body. When they are at this age everything is new and interesting and they just can't help themselves. It's all part of the learning process and I learned very quickly!

Whingers and whiners

Don't you just hate it when your child whines? It must be one of the most irritating things that we parents have to endure when it comes to our kids. It's almost as bad as listening to someone scraping their nails down a blackboard! Well the best way to deal with those whingers and whiners is to not give in to them, but instead divert their attention to something more interesting, like a game they can play or some exciting activity they can take part in. If this is met with a blunt refusal and they continue to whinge, then say quite firmly to them that they will NOT be getting what they want and explain to them the reason why. Explain that you don't mind them taking part in your suggestion but you are not going to listen to their whining. Make sure that you are firm throughout and that you do not enter into any conversation with them. Once you have done this, walk away from them and if they continue to whine, then ignore them completely. I realise that you will probably find this difficult as their constant whining would drive you mad, but it is vitally important if they are to learn that whining does not get them what they want. As always perseverance and consistency is key to your success. If they continue to whine and you feel they are beginning to wear you down, then you need to place them in 'Time Out'. This is as much for your sanity as it is for them to learn that whinging doesn't get them anywhere. If your child is a regular whinger then maybe taking them for a walk or to the park everyday to wear them out and early bedtimes might help. Good luck!

Bad Language

Toddlers only learn bad language from those around them. Unfortunately they are quick to pick up on bad language and they have a tendency to want to use it in public, much to our embarrassment. Children can be as quiet as mice sometimes and you don't realise that they are there. You know how it goes you stub your toe on a hard object and out comes an involuntary expletive and for the next month your two year old is using that expletive at every opportunity he gets. Children can also pick up bad language from playgroup, nursery and from passers-by in the street. Sadly we cannot protect our little ones from these outside influences but there are certain things that we can do. Remember your child looks to you for guidance and copies everything that you do. This is the way children learn how to behave. As their parent you need to set a good example and be a good role model for them to follow. You can't say to your child not do something if you are doing that exact same thing yourself!

So the next time you trip over something or the dog nabs that dinner you just made and you feel an expletive coming on, try and say something else. You could say sugar or fudge or even the saying that I made up, POODLES! Yeah I know that sounds a bit strange but whatever word you choose to use has got to be better than using an expletive. You may find it quite amusing to hear your child shouting, "Oh poodles" at every opportunity! Young children don't understand what expletives mean, they are only aware of their affect on you, their parent. The best way to tackle their bad language besides being a good role model is to simply ignore it. If you make a big song and dance about it this will only make them use it more as they are receiving a reaction from you. Your child will then see it as a game to play with Mummy and Daddy to see how far they can push you. If you feel that you need to say something, then just give a quiet but firm caution, like " we do not want to hear those words, thank you," and then continue to ignore their bad language. Stay calm and don't show any emotion when they swear. When they show good behaviour, praise them, using lots of happy facial expressions and a happy tone of voice. Your child will soon realise good behaviour is rewarded and will soon tire of using expletives as he receives no attention from you when he does this.

Related Tags: children, kids, parenting, toddlers, parenting advice, childrens toys, kids toys

Ruth has had a lot of experience working with children including working in a nursery for a while. She has two step children of 10 and 12 and has qualfications in childcare. She is the owner of her own website, where you will find parenting advice, children's toys, games and much more! Why not come and take a look! You are sure to find something whether your child is 1 day old or 16.


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