Adults aren't the only ones getting stressed out in today's faster is better world -- your children might be suffering from stress-related anxiety as well. Find out how to help your child beat some of the nervous habits that can result.
If your teen bites his nails or picks at his ears, he may be suffering from stress-related anxiety. What should you do about these irritating habits? Here are a few tips from Dr. Katharina Manassis, a staff psychiatrist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
• Be positive when you notice your child resisting the temptation to indulge in the habit.
• Ask if she wants help losing the habit: nail polish or gloves for a nail biter, or a hat for a hair puller or chewer, might remind her when she is about to engage in the habit.
• Suggest an alternative activity to keep your child's hands occupied: keep a Game Boy, a box of fiddly things (worry beads, paper-clip chains, stress balls) or craft supplies nearby. Move a bowl of fresh fruit or veggie sticks to the living room while he watches TV or studies.
If he refuses to try to stop (and there aren't medical concerns), it's probably better not to make an issue out of it. However, if the habit results in skin damage or other physical problems, such as picking scabs or biting the lip and mouth in a way that causes infections, parents should schedule a doctor's visit for counselling.