8 Bad Habits ... and How to Help Kids Change Them

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By Keren Perles

Parents who “freak out” over their kid’s habits can actually reinforce them or increase stress and anxiety that led to the behavior in the first place, says Dr. Gary McClain, author of The Complete Idiot’s Book to Breaking Bad Habits. So, how can you address these habits without spinning your wheels?

First, have a conversation with your child to uncover any feelings she’s struggling with. Asking why she feels compelled to do something instead of just telling her not to do it can open up opportunities to solve the problem. Keep what she says in mind while you’re setting up a system to counter her bad habits. Then, instead of making every bad habit a moral battle, find ways to "hack" them—think of clever strategies and tricks to make it easier for your kid to nip it in the bud. Take a look at these eight bad habits kids have and how to deal with them.