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Bad Habits

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WSVN -- 3-year-old Jack is as cute as they come, but he has a bad habit.

Rebecca McCarron, Jack's Mom: "A stranger on the street will comment on the fact that they like his hair, and Jack will turn around and say, 'No! I don't like it!'"

Jack McCarron: "Stop! I don't like it!"

Jack's friend, Marco, sucks his fingers. And then, there's Willard.

Holly Barnhart, Willard & Audrey's Mom: "He sucks his thumb, and then Audrey kind of learned to follow from his bad habit. She sucks her pointer finger."

Just about every kid has a bad habit.

Dr. Valerie Goode: "They can bite their nails until they're bleeding. They can pick their noses, which is really disgusting and nobody likes. People really are turned off by this, and parents go crazy."

But Dr. Val says, relax. Kids usually grow out of bad habits. And as long as the child isn't hurting himself, parents should try to keep the problem in perspective. Work with the kids to get rid of their habits.

Dr. Valerie Goode: "If you can be calm about it, and just talk to them about it, and get them involved in it, you'll be more likely to stop the bad habit."

Instead of telling kids to stop doing something, give them a reason to.

Dr. Valerie Goode: "If a child is a thumb sucker or a nail biter, if it's a little girl, you might want to take her to get a manicure with you."

And the experts say, one of the worst things you can do is go to the extremes to try and break the habit, like putting foul-tasting substances on a thumb sucker's hand. It can make it worse and the damage to your relationship with your child is there.

Instead, stay positive and be patient, even if you think the habit is never going to go away.

Jack McCarron: "Stop! I don't like it!"

Rebecca says, they're working with Jack on his yelling.

Rebecca McCarron: "We just say, 'Jack, this is so and so.' We introduce them and say, 'We don't yell at adults. We don't yell at anyone.'"

And Holly knows that Willard will grow out of his thumb-sucking habit. Eventually.

Holly Barnhart: "He's only 3. I feel like I have another year or so, but who knows? We'll get there."


Breaking Kids of Bad Habits

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