Archive for June 24th, 2010

Whether you are a parent or not, kids have bad habits that can be annoying.  After mom blogging researching and investigating medical articles for backup, the 4 most common ones that children develop and parents tend to complain about are:

Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons picking his nose. By Matt Groening.

1.   Nail biting
2.   Thumb sucking
3.   Hair twirling
4.   Nose picking

Although your child’s habits may be a nuisance or even agonize you, relax! For the most part, a habit is just a phase in the normal developmental process and is NOT cause for alarm.

What’s a Habit?
A habit is a pattern of behavior that’s repeated, and the person or child is not usually even aware of it. What can be an issue for parents is that kids may be blissfully unaware of a habit!  If your child is sucking their hand and the other hand is entwined in hair, do not worry – habits tend to occur in bunches. 

Nail Biting
If nails chewed to little chiclets are familiar to you, you’re not alone. One of the most customary childhood habits is nail biting or picking.  Some studies estimate that 30% to 60% of kids and teens chew on one or more fingernails. Sometimes, a child may also bite his or her toenails.  Studies show that boys and girls are similarly prone to the nail biting habit in earlier years; however, as they get older, boys are more likely to be nail biters.

Hair Twirling
If one of your kids is a hair twirler, it is most likely your daughter. The majority of children who twist, stroke, or pull their hair are girls.

Hair twirling may appear in early childhood as a precursor to hair pulling, but many hair twirlers and pullers stop as they get older.  For kids who are unable to break this habit as they grow older, it is typically a sign of anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Nose Picking
Nose picking is a childhood bad habit, which typically lingers into adulthood. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry article “Rhinotillexomania: psychiatric disorder or habit?” a 1995 study into nose picking, requesting information from 1,000 randomly selected adults, gathered 254 respondents. It defined nose picking as “the insertion of a finger (or other object) into the nose with the intention of removing dried nasal secretions”. Of those who responded, 91% said they were current nose pickers (but only 75% of these believed everyone did it) and two people claimed to spend between 15 to 30 minutes and one to two hours a day picking their nose. Crazy right?

Thumb Sucking
Why the popular thumb over the index finger? Flavor? Just kidding. Most studies show that the preference for thumbs is an accidental choice, resulting from the thumb coming into contact with the mouth during random movements made by an infant.

Not the thumb for your kids? Some children also suck their fingers, hands, their whole fist, or switch up hand parts at various times for a tasty selection. Many kids suck their thumbs to calm and comfort themselves. The American Dental Association says that thumb sucking does not cause permanent problems with the teeth or jaw line unless it is continued beyond 4 to 5 years of age. If your child sucks his or her thumb intensely or too past age 5 it can cause problems such as an overbite (dental problem), hand infections or teased by peers.

By this time, you might be asking yourself 1) what causes a bad habit? 2) how do I break my child of this habit? Read Part 2 on Monday, June 28th on our Le Top Blog to get the lowdown on bad habit breaking tips!


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Bright eyed Jacob (4-months-old) is bursting with so much character that he brings joy to everyone’s day. Mom and dad, I think you’re going to have your hands full with this one!!

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