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Discouraging Bad Habits

All kids have habits, even toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners who are just beginning to form their views of the world. Whether these little behaviors are centered around the way children eat or the way they watch television, they are normally harmless. But what are parents to do when habits become bad habits? Or when a bad habit becomes more a way of life than an occasional bad behavior?

Help Improving Behavior

Before trying to discourage your child from a bad behavior or habit, try to establish if it really is something that produces a negative impact on their lives. If a kid's habit is benign, let it go. If it has crossed the line though, and turned into a pattern of bad behavior, then something must be done.

  • Identification of the Behavior. First things first, parents must identify what the habit really is and why children continue to act it out. Make sure you know exactly what behavior you need to eradicate before setting out to do so.
  • Dig deeper into the behavior's Cause. Common bad habits are head banging, teeth grinding, and body rocking. There is a reason that your child is performing these actions, so getting to the route of the behavior is an important step. These habits can indicate insecurity, a need for comfort, or in the case of teeth grinding, a natural behavior that kids often outgrow.
  • Find a Solution for the Behavior. The first step to discouraging bad habits is to give them as little attention as possible. When children find that their actions encourage attention of any kind, positive or negative, they are apt to repeat it more frequently. If your child's bad habit is a plea for comfort, such as head banging or body rocking, try to determine what is stressing your little one and do all you can to relieve the anxiety. Oftentimes, giving children the ability to make their own decisions can increase their self-autonomy and confidence, reducing their need to seek comfort in negative behavior.

Success Changing Kids Behavior

Parents can successfully discourage bad habits and behaviors in children by being consistent in their efforts and by following through with the parenting techniques they have employed. It may take a few tries to determine what works best with your child, as all kids are different, but once you find a behavior modification system that works don't give up on it. Your child will benefit from your dedication, as will the whole family.