How Do You Stop Your Child From Becoming THAT Kid? Expert Tips For Parents

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To determine whether or not your child’s actions are controllable, engage in a friendly conversation.

If your child is making unusual noises, hyper focused on a topic, or refuses to bathe regularly, you may worry about them becoming the odd one out among their peers. But what do you? Do you ignore it and hope your child figures it out? Do you try to stop the behavior? And what do you say?

The answer: it depends on the situation.

Unusual Noises or Sounds

“The first thing you want to do is to make sure that the behavior is controllable,” advises Dr. Lara Darling, a pediatrician with Indiana University Health. “Making unusual noises is not that uncommon. Up to one in four kids will have a transient tick disorder and will make a weird noise. This can occur for up to one year and then it simply goes away.”

To determine whether or not your child’s actions are controllable, engage in a friendly conversation. Dr. Darling advises that you simply point out you’ve noticed the noise and ask if they have noticed it too. If they have, you can ask them why. If they haven’t, you should ignore it and let the behavior work itself out.

“A lot of times tick disorders are part of a self-soothing mechanism, and they will present in times of stress,” Dr. Darling explains. “If you constantly point it out, you will add stress to the child, which will make the behavior worse.”

The treatment options for a tick disorder are limited and not very effective so it’s best to quietly monitor the behavior. If it continues for more than six months, your child demonstrates multiple kinds of ticks, it is getting worse, or they are uttering words as a verbal tick, then it’s a time to speak to the pediatrician.

However, if your child is intentionally making noises, such as burps, then it should be addressed and treated as any other unacceptable behavior – create a consequence. Recognizing that this is some children’s version of humor, it is best not to ban the action completely, instead focus on appropriateness. For example, certain noises are okay when joking with friends, but not at the dinner table or in the classroom.

Passionate Interest

For a child who has a very intense interest, even if it changes suddenly, don’t fret – this is typical from approximately age five past college.  The important thing in this situation is to focus on teaching politeness, fairness and sharing. Remind your child that other people may have different interests and they may want to talk about their interests too.

Poor Hygiene

If your preteen is refusing to bathe or wear deodorant, then it is important to have a conversation.  “You should start off with an inquisitive conversation,” Dr. Darling advises. “You can say, ‘hey I notice you aren’t doing this, what’s going on?’ When you approach this with an open mind, they may tell you something you did not know. They may say it takes me too long because I need to wash myself twelve times, which is a very different issue than if they’d prefer to play video games.”

Once you determine that there are not other issues to address, ranging from product dislike or sensitivity to possible disorders, then you should treat their choice as you would any other responsibility. Explain that they are expected to go to school, complete their homework, do their chores, wash regularly, put on deodorant, and brush their teeth. Dr. Darling encourages parents to track these behaviors and reward or punish them in the same manner you would for the other responsibilities on the list.

For any additional questions or concerns about your child’s behavior, Dr. Darling recommends reaching out to your child’s pediatrician. “We are always happy to see the child, talk through it and come up with solutions together.”

-- By Gia Miller

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