Guest Author - Chinedum Ify Obikili
Every addiction first begins as a bad behavior which soon became a habit and then an addiction. Some of these behaviors are picked up from our immediate environment, while others are picked up from what we see on TV. If this habit is addressed and handled at inception, it would rarely become an obsession. Bad behavior if ignored with the idea that it'll go away on its own, would slowly but definitely progress into a habit, then we would have major crisis to deal with. Here are warning signals in your kids that should not be ignored.
1. Older Siblings taking things from younger siblings: This is not a good sign and should not be ignored. I had a neighbor who had two pretty little girls. The oldest had the habit of taking stuff from her little sister. Each time the younger one picks up something of interest to her; the older sibling takes it away from her. They came visiting with my daughter one day, and I put on their favorite cartoon. While they played, I faced my computer but kept my eyes on them. At first I didn’t figure out what was going on, I just noticed that each time I looked their way, a toy I had seen with the younger sibling was with the older one. The next time I looked, the older sibling had a big doll, a toy car and a toy piano which were all my daughter’s and was pulling out a whistle from her sister. I went over to her and asked her to hand over all the play things she had. After she did, I asked the three girls to count along with me, to find out how many toys each girl had. My daughter of course had none, but seemed not to mind. The younger girl had only the whistle her sister wanted to take from her, while this older girl had three items in her hands. I gently asked her to be a good girl and share the other play things with her sister and friends. After we talked, she handed over a toy to her sister and another to my daughter. They played together afterwards. However, when they were ready to leave, I gave each girl a snack and a drink to take home, and out of reflex, The older sibling reached out and took her sister’s drink. Her mom snapped at her to give it back. I mentioned I had talked about that attitude earlier, the mom confirmed that has been going on for a while and that she hopes it stops with time. I told her in very clear terms that the behavior would go nowhere until she dealt with it. She agreed to pay more attention to her girl. Now, if a behavior like this allows to progress, what do you think the innocent older sibling would become? A bully. She’d take her behavior first to her school, and then neighborhood. She’d always forcefully collect things from people she is older than.
2. Children who throw tantrums to have their ways: children always want their way. They get really upset when they are denied a request, especially if it is a request on one of their favorites. They appeal to you with innocent eyes, to have things they shouldn’t. Most times we give in to this tactics and the child ends up getting hurt. If you noticed that your kid throws a tantrum when denied something, whether it is kicking a chair down, or sending plates flying across the living room or does anything violent to communicate his displeasure at your decision, you need to let him know who is boss, especially if you have gently explained to him why he can't have whatever it is he wants at the time. Do not let this behavior slide. A child who breaks or destroys things may be showing you signs of violence. Make him pick up whatever he’s knocked down, as well as pay for whatever he’d broken. Let him know that since he may not have the money to pay for what he had broken, you will take away his favorite chocolate or candy for a certain period of time to enable you raise enough money to replace what he had destroyed. Because he probably loves his candy so much, he’d think twice before destroying anything again.