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How to Stop Unhealthy Habits in Children
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It is a known fact that it takes a great deal to break a habit. As habit is something which gives comfort, relaxes and calms the mind, it requires great determination to let it go. Especially in children, stopping bad habits demands entirely different approach. While planning to stop these bad habits, one should make sure that the child's psychology is also taken into consideration. If children are not handled properly in the process of ceasing their bad habits, they may suffer from severe behavioral problems. Few techniques are discussed below that help in dealing with this issue.

Common bad habits in children
Children are very tender and are prone to repeat any action which they find exciting. While adapting a habit, they fail to differentiate between the positive and negative aspects of it. The most common bad habits in children include, lying, thumb sucking, lashing out at others, nose picking, and nail biting, head banging, avoiding chores, back talk and so on. Most of the above mentioned habits appear infancy, but there are some destructive habits such as drug abuse, attempting to fraud, etc. which can possibly have a catastrophic effect on their future.

Identify the bad habits
Not all the above mentioned actions can be considered as bad habits (excluding drug or alcohol abuse and attempt to fraud). One should conclude them as bad habits only on observing the frequency of repetition and the situations in which they are performed.

Some habits such as drug abuse should be identified in the early stages as the prolonged use will destroy the kid’s future. Early detection of unhealthy habits in children is very crucial, making it easy to stop them. Early identification in other words is a lifesaving act. So, it is advised to check them using drug testing kits when you suspect drug abuse. Many of these test kits are inexpensive, reliable and provide accurate results.

Understand the reasons behind the bad habits
One cannot proceed to stop the bad habits in the children without learning the reasons behind them. Children have different perceptions on most of the things, hence, when they adapt a habit, many factors such as environment, lack of knowledge, bad company, mere attraction or sometimes compulsion, may influence the child's mind. For example, habits like nose picking and lip biting may be due to infection. Drug abuse may be due to bad influence. Whatever might be the reason, dealing with the problem, right from its root will terminate it completely.

Intervene at the right time
Good timed intervention redeems the life of an individual. Proper guidance can actually make a child differentiate between the good and bad actions. But the most important thing is timing. On identifying a bad habit, parents should look for the opportunity to warn their child of the unhealthy habit. Late interventions might just not help in recovering the damage already done. Early intervention and right timed intervention is very crucial. Pestering your child with restrictions at every point of time will also not work, as it will only make him/her feel guilty, irritated and finally lead to self-isolation.

Talk about the risks associated
Children adopt unhealthy habits due to insufficient or in most cases having no knowledge about their consequences. It is very important to educate or make them aware of the possible risks associated with these ailing habits. Instead of laying strict rules to prevent the habit, having a friendly chat to explain them about the consequences can have more positive effects. This also can make a child leave the habit permanently, whereas the former one acts as a temporary aid.

Support them positively
Stopping of unhealthy habits sounds very stringent. But with the touch of positivity, this process definitely provides explicit results. Especially, in the case of children, as it requires a soft, gentle and caring handling. Encouraging them to avoid the habits and thus trying to improve themselves will increase their spirits greatly. Positive reinforcement also makes them forget the pain associated with withdrawing an unhealthy habit.

Importance of ceasing unhealthy habits need not be illustrated. All it takes is the right understanding and right implementation of corrective measures to overcome bad habits. With good knowledge of all the above details, the goal of getting rid of these habits can be achieved.

By Nate Rodney
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