7 Ways to Get Your Kid to Break Bad Habits
From nose picking to thumb sucking. there are plenty of inappropriate habits that your little one might pick up as they grow. Like temper tantrums, these can be difficult to handle. So how exactly can you help your kid make a change? Here are seven ways to help your child overcome those bad habits.
1. Work With, Not Against
As a parent, when you’re educating or pushing your child to overcome his bad habits, you automatically turn the opposite way and become ‘against’ your child, which is something you don’t want. Work with your child and help them become stronger, more powerful and more self-controlled, helping them overcome their bad habits.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” — Rom. 12:18
2. Offer a Substitute
Sometimes, when nothing else works, you can also consider offering your kid a substitute to limit their bad behavior. This actually works because it is less of a punishment and more of an outlet for your kid to understand and change their ways. For example, if your kid has a habit of picking their nose, you can let them know they can do it only in the bathroom.
3. Understand the Behavior
This one’s a biggie. A lot of us don’t actually work on understanding the logic behind our child’s behavior and end up being their biggest critics. Most of the time, children develop unwanted behavioral patterns due to an underlying issue or some source of stress. Sometimes, children may also develop these bad habits because they’re just seeking attention from their parents.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” — James 1:19
4. Praise and Reward
Praising and rewarding is another excellent strategy that almost always works when your kid seems to have picked a bad habit. Educate your kid about how their habit is bad and how you’d be proud of their stoopping. When they do, make sure you praise them and occasionally reward them too.
“Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” — Col. 3:21
5. Be Discreet
This one’s an important step in helping your kid break bad habits. You need to be discreet, especially if you feel your attention and nagging is only making things worse. Take things one step at a time, and don’t let them feel overwhelmed with working on too many bad habits at once. Never embarrass your child in public. Never be rude towards them. Be private about their shortcomings.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” — Col. 3:15
6. Don’t Overreact
Shaming your child or making them feel bad about their behavior in an attempt to get them to break their bad habits doesn’t always work. Instead, it is a surefire way to worsen your relationship and develop bitter feelings that may pass into adulthood as well. Be incredibly patient with them and support them.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” — 1 Cor. 13:4–8
7. Boost Morale
Last, but definitely not the least, try to boost your child’s morale as much as you can. There’s a different kind of magic that happens when you start trusting your child, stop judging them and become more patient about overcoming bad habits. Be gentle in your approach, and always make sure your child feels supported by your behavior.
“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” — Ps. 127:3