Remember that some types of behavior have no motive. A problem such pants-wetting is inconvenient, but it is also unintentional. Clinging is likewise a development behavior, one that reflects the limits of a youngster’s understanding. Other unappealing forms of behavior, such as thumb sucking, nose picking, and masturbation, may begin as responses to fatigue and stress but quickly become habit, pure and simple.
It is a mistake to label them as misbehavior. In general, such problems require patience rather than correction. When they disappear it is usually due to physical and emotional growth, though reassurance may help. You’re relaxed and supportive attitude will be more to inspire change than coercion, nagging or punishment.
If you become concerned about such types of behavior continuing too long, look for ways to help the child relax in socially acceptable ways. You should also note the detail of the child’s bad habit, when and where it occurs, its frequency, whether it seems to be increasing or decreasing. Your notes will help you describe the problem should you find it necessary to consult a pediatrician.
Bed-wetting, in particular, indicates that a child is not developmentally ready to stay dry all night. Occasional wetting between the ages of three and six is normal. Continual wetting at four years of age or frequent wetting that reappears unexpectedly may indicate a physical problem and should be bought to the attention of your doctor. Children develop different skills at different ages-toilet training is no exception.
Thumb sucking, rocking back and forth before falling asleep, nose picking and twiddling the hair are classic examples of babyish behavior that evolve into unconscious habits. In general, such habits disappear by the age of five or six, with or without any attention. If you find that your child sucks his thumb at particular times of the day, try changing his routine. Clinging and becoming distraught upon separation from parents are phases the most children go through. Clinging is common up to three years of age, it waxes and wanes between three and four, happens occasionally at four and is almost gone by five.