It’s a common observation that it’s easy to catch the bad habits in no time but cultivating good behavior habits takes longer. Generally most bad habits begin between the ages 5 to 7. As at this age, children begin to realize that they are watched by peers, friends, parents and the teachers. This makes them nervous and they take up to compulsive behavior like nail biting, hair sucking etc to release the calming hormones into the blood stream.
Toddlers face the same issue but they use blanket or a pillow as comforter. But once they grow up, they feel ashamed of using such stuffs and indulge in compulsive habits to remain inconspicuous
The best way to counter this is to encourage good behavior in the child. This will boost up their self confidence and due course negative behavior would disappear. Here a few tips to help in this regard
- Children should not be talked about their behavior in front of the peers. This would only lower their confidence level.
- Instead of taunting the children for bad behavior, its better to praise them when they indulge in good ones. This would boost up their confidence and control negative behavior in turn. They would be begin to believe they live up to mark on the performance ladder and would relieve them of the tension
- Parents and teachers should avoid punishing the child. Punishing will yield only temporary success and not solve the problem. They will still indulge in the bad behavior but stealthily. Also, the child does not learn constructive behavior through punishments.
- Instead of rewards, children could be given any of their favorite objects (not food) like beads, at the start of the day. If they don’t indulge in bad behavior they could continue to have all of them. On the other hand, for every deviation from the rule book they loose one of them. As they see the numbers depleting they would make effort to cut down negative behavior and get over it in course of time.
- A variation could be to a fix up a certain number that should be retained by the child by the end of the day to watch their favorite programme or movie etc.
- Sharing with the child the parents’ childhood compulsive habits which make the child feel their insecurity is perfectly natural.
These ideas should be adapted to suit the child interests as each child is unique. Also, the parents must give some time for the habits to break. The progress should be assessed as a decrease in compulsive behavior over time and victory is the day the when the child totally gets over it. But the rate of progress would differ from child to child and circumstances as well.
Finally, the parents and teachers should work together to encourage the children and make them comfortable and bring down their stress levels .This would increase their self confidence and their by help them to get over their compulsive behavior.