Nose picking/thumb sucking/rudeness


Katie Robles
 

I need help either having more realistic expectations or with handling things better.

My kids are 11,9,6,4, and six weeks. (Only the oldest has been to school and it was for three separate times for about six weeks each time at her request)

My oldest picks her nose and holds the booger between her fingers and plays with it.  Whenever I notice this I give her a tissue, have her wipe off her fingers and I throw the tissue away.  If she's sitting and picking extensively I'll ask her to go to the bathroom.  

She gets angry when I give her a tissue or ask her to stop.  This has been going on for years, and at this point I feel like it's seriously negatively affecting our relationship because it's happening multiple times a day.

My nine year old still sucks her thumb, and needs braces and wants braces, which we'll get for her as soon as its in the budget or when the eleven year old gets hers off, whichever happens first.  My husband has started reminding her not to suck her thumb, which she doesn't mind, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.  

In response the six year old has started sucking her thumb even though she never did in the past.

Anytime I mention to anyone not to pick their nose or suck their thumb the four year old starts doing it intentionally.

The four year old has not been happy, and seems to intentionally do negative things for my attention.  This started over a year ago and I thought it was because we were packing for an out of state move, then I thought it was adjusting to our new house, then me being pregnant and him being nervous about the new baby, and now baby is here.  

He tends to scream when he wants his way, even if it's something that's not possible, tries to chase his sisters out of any room he and I are in, walks up to them and grabs their stuff, intentionally chews with his mouth open to bug the eleven year old when they eat, or do things like try to punch the TV when it's his sister's turn to watch something, even if I've set up something else for him to do, or another show for him on a phone or laptop.  

I'm nervous about assuming he will grow out of this stuff since its been going on for so long. 

My husband works from home, so he's here mostly during the day and helps a lot, and my parents and sister are in town and love the kids and do things frequently with them too, (separately and all together). 

The nose picking, thumb sucking, and defiant behavior from the four year old bother my mother too, when she's with the kids.

They've been rude to her too, like flat out ignoring her when she's asked them to do something (or not do something) at her house and I'm not there.  

I see them learning, and having fun and being happy in general, but the nose picking, thumb sucking and attitude about it when I bring it up is not pleasant.  I don't know if there are better ways to handle it.

And I'm unsure of better ways to help the four year old be happy as I'm already giving him as much positive attention as I can.  I'm also unsure if assuming he will outgrow these things is the best course of action. 


 

-=-I need help either having more realistic expectations or with handling things better.-=-

I might need help paying better attention to this group!! Sorry I didn’t approve that post sooner.

Others might have great ideas. In the past I’ve told some stories about boogers, and Marty, when he was little, and maybe by looking in the archives for boogers, zoo, or monkey, previous topics could be found and linked here, perhaps, maybe. I’ll be gone all day tomorrow, so I hope others will brilliantly provide tons of angles, tricks and tools.

Sandra


Katie Robles
 

I searched the archives and found this: 

"Boogers and dirt...

Marty used to eat his boogers in front of the family, when he was little. I teased him out of it by offering to ask a friend of ours who worked at the zoo to save him some monkey boogers, or elephant boogers. I grossed him out gently, to help him see that he was grossing us out.

I told him he could do it in his own room, but not where other people were.

Sticking fingers in ANY holes in bodies, I used to say, was for privacy. Nobody wanted to see the insides of them, or what comes out of them, I'd tell them. So it wasn't a specific rule, it was a principle about bodily lumps and fluids, and about exploring our own orifices and parts."

Bodily lumps and fluids and exploring orifices and parts hits it right on the nose.  I guess I've hesitated to use humor or gentle teasing for fear of teasing a little too hard, but maybe that would be good to switch it up and get out of this "here goes mom again" broken record thing.
 


Katie Robles
 

Thanks for the reminder to check the archives!  Helpful stuff there :)  I also found this: 

"Marty used to eat boogers when he was little.  Four, five?  We had a friend who worked at the zoo, and I someitmes offered to ask Bill to bring us some exotic boogers Marty could try.  It was a way for me to say it was gross without ragging on and on about Marty's own boogers.  I would say "I wonder if they taste like monkey boogers," or "I wonder how big an elephant booger is."  Just conversationally, like I was talking about anything else.  It was kind of funny, but kind of gross, and it probably helped him not do it.

I also said to each of my kids at some point when they were pulling boogers out or eating with their mouths open or whatever, that there are holes in our bodies, and there's stuff in there, and it's not nice to show any of that to other people.  Wiping boogers on the wall is something like rubbing poo on the wall—something that should be inside us, or cleaned out privately.

MAYBE (depending on personalities) you could put little marks on a piece of paper—not the calendar on the wall, but just a little chart that can be thrown away easily, and put a line when you see him with his finger in his nose.  One day might have six marks.  The next might have eight, or only two.  There might come a day when there are no marks.  It might help him AND you to see progress that way.

Tic marks, like 1, 1, 1, 1 and cross it to make five.   "

I think my nine year old would really like a chart like that, especially if I could mark on it without necessarily having to say anything in front of the other kids.  She said she doesn't even notice when she's thumb sucking, but if she thinks about then it's easy to stop.
 


Tara F (rhymes with Sara)
 

>>> I guess I've hesitated to use humor or gentle teasing for fear of teasing a little too hard, but maybe that would be good to switch it up and get out of this "here goes mom again" broken record thing. <<<

I personally tend to take things too seriously. I look for role models who make lightness look easy. Peter Gray's article on the value of teasing is really helpful for me to deconstruct the concept and figure out how to do it more often myself.

I especially like Gray's take on teasing as a way of letting others know they're accepted. People who know they're accepted are more likely to change their behavior than someone fighting to be seen and heard. I'm picturing a laughing mom using a knuckle to over-the-top pretend to pick her nose, and a bunch of laughing kids watching her joyfully. 

We spend a lot of time learning how damaging things like teasing and shame can be. But there are actually very healthy capacities of both. 

I'm linking the Peter Gray article here. For someone who feels nervous about teasing, googling "teasing vs bullying" could also be helpful. To be clear, Gray is not an unschooler but he does study and write about us often. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201301/the-educative-value-teasing-0

~Tara Joe Farrell 


 

I don't have specific tips for stopping nose picking or thumb sucking but reading your post my initial reaction was that it sounds like they're all trying to get your attention. One copying the negative behavior you correct another for, etc. Appearing the strongest from the 4 year old because he previously was the baby and probably dominated your attention before the new one. I'm sure with a new baby and 4 kids you're stretched pretty thin, but I'd guess that anything more you can do to give them each some positive attention would help your whole situation. It can be little things like 5 minutes of your full attention only on them. I've noticed my boys really appreciate it when I put my phone away, ignore other household chores, ask other people/kids to patiently wait for me if necessary, and give them my full attention - eye contact, listening intently to what they have to say, etc. even for just a few minutes every so often.

I wish you all the best!
Erin



On Sat, Sep 15, 2018 at 11:40 PM Kathryn Robles paigekitten@... [AlwaysLearning] <AlwaysLearning@...> wrote:
 

I need help either having more realistic expectations or with handling things better.

My kids are 11,9,6,4, and six weeks. (Only the oldest has been to school and it was for three separate times for about six weeks each time at her request)

My oldest picks her nose and holds the booger between her fingers and plays with it.  Whenever I notice this I give her a tissue, have her wipe off her fingers and I throw the tissue away.  If she's sitting and picking extensively I'll ask her to go to the bathroom.  

She gets angry when I give her a tissue or ask her to stop.  This has been going on for years, and at this point I feel like it's seriously negatively affecting our relationship because it's happening multiple times a day.

My nine year old still sucks her thumb, and needs braces and wants braces, which we'll get for her as soon as its in the budget or when the eleven year old gets hers off, whichever happens first.  My husband has started reminding her not to suck her thumb, which she doesn't mind, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.  

In response the six year old has started sucking her thumb even though she never did in the past.

Anytime I mention to anyone not to pick their nose or suck their thumb the four year old starts doing it intentionally.

The four year old has not been happy, and seems to intentionally do negative things for my attention.  This started over a year ago and I thought it was because we were packing for an out of state move, then I thought it was adjusting to our new house, then me being pregnant and him being nervous about the new baby, and now baby is here.  

He tends to scream when he wants his way, even if it's something that's not possible, tries to chase his sisters out of any room he and I are in, walks up to them and grabs their stuff, intentionally chews with his mouth open to bug the eleven year old when they eat, or do things like try to punch the TV when it's his sister's turn to watch something, even if I've set up something else for him to do, or another show for him on a phone or laptop.  

I'm nervous about assuming he will grow out of this stuff since its been going on for so long. 

My husband works from home, so he's here mostly during the day and helps a lot, and my parents and sister are in town and love the kids and do things frequently with them too, (separately and all together). 

The nose picking, thumb sucking, and defiant behavior from the four year old bother my mother too, when she's with the kids.

They've been rude to her too, like flat out ignoring her when she's asked them to do something (or not do something) at her house and I'm not there.  

I see them learning, and having fun and being happy in general, but the nose picking, thumb sucking and attitude about it when I bring it up is not pleasant.  I don't know if there are better ways to handle it.

And I'm unsure of better ways to help the four year old be happy as I'm already giving him as much positive attention as I can.  I'm also unsure if assuming he will outgrow these things is the best course of action. 


Katie Robles
 

That was my initial thoughts as well, however, I do make a great effort to make sure they get focused individual attention.  The nosepicking and thumb sucking gets intensely worse whenever we sit down to read books together.  Also, the four year old's behavior isn't much different from what it was last year at this time, so I don't know that it's the new baby specifically.


On Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 5:57 PM 'Erin & Keith' keithnerin@... [AlwaysLearning] <AlwaysLearning@...> wrote:
 

I don't have specific tips for stopping nose picking or thumb sucking but reading your post my initial reaction was that it sounds like they're all trying to get your attention. One copying the negative behavior you correct another for, etc. Appearing the strongest from the 4 year old because he previously was the baby and probably dominated your attention before the new one. I'm sure with a new baby and 4 kids you're stretched pretty thin, but I'd guess that anything more you can do to give them each some positive attention would help your whole situation. It can be little things like 5 minutes of your full attention only on them. I've noticed my boys really appreciate it when I put my phone away, ignore other household chores, ask other people/kids to patiently wait for me if necessary, and give them my full attention - eye contact, listening intently to what they have to say, etc. even for just a few minutes every so often.

I wish you all the best!
Erin



On Sat, Sep 15, 2018 at 11:40 PM Kathryn Robles paigekitten@... [AlwaysLearning] <AlwaysLearning@...> wrote:
 

I need help either having more realistic expectations or with handling things better.

My kids are 11,9,6,4, and six weeks. (Only the oldest has been to school and it was for three separate times for about six weeks each time at her request)

My oldest picks her nose and holds the booger between her fingers and plays with it.  Whenever I notice this I give her a tissue, have her wipe off her fingers and I throw the tissue away.  If she's sitting and picking extensively I'll ask her to go to the bathroom.  

She gets angry when I give her a tissue or ask her to stop.  This has been going on for years, and at this point I feel like it's seriously negatively affecting our relationship because it's happening multiple times a day.

My nine year old still sucks her thumb, and needs braces and wants braces, which we'll get for her as soon as its in the budget or when the eleven year old gets hers off, whichever happens first.  My husband has started reminding her not to suck her thumb, which she doesn't mind, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.  

In response the six year old has started sucking her thumb even though she never did in the past.

Anytime I mention to anyone not to pick their nose or suck their thumb the four year old starts doing it intentionally.

The four year old has not been happy, and seems to intentionally do negative things for my attention.  This started over a year ago and I thought it was because we were packing for an out of state move, then I thought it was adjusting to our new house, then me being pregnant and him being nervous about the new baby, and now baby is here.  

He tends to scream when he wants his way, even if it's something that's not possible, tries to chase his sisters out of any room he and I are in, walks up to them and grabs their stuff, intentionally chews with his mouth open to bug the eleven year old when they eat, or do things like try to punch the TV when it's his sister's turn to watch something, even if I've set up something else for him to do, or another show for him on a phone or laptop.  

I'm nervous about assuming he will grow out of this stuff since its been going on for so long. 

My husband works from home, so he's here mostly during the day and helps a lot, and my parents and sister are in town and love the kids and do things frequently with them too, (separately and all together). 

The nose picking, thumb sucking, and defiant behavior from the four year old bother my mother too, when she's with the kids.

They've been rude to her too, like flat out ignoring her when she's asked them to do something (or not do something) at her house and I'm not there.  

I see them learning, and having fun and being happy in general, but the nose picking, thumb sucking and attitude about it when I bring it up is not pleasant.  I don't know if there are better ways to handle it.

And I'm unsure of better ways to help the four year old be happy as I'm already giving him as much positive attention as I can.  I'm also unsure if assuming he will outgrow these things is the best course of action. 


 

-=-The nosepicking and thumb sucking gets intensely worse whenever we sit down to read books together. -=-

People DO things while they’re listening. They smoke cigarettes, or drink beer. Some peel their nail polish, or bite their nails. Lots doodle, or fold paper.

Little kids don’t have access to all that yet. :-)
He’s probably doing something that helps him listen, helps him concentrate.

You could, perhaps, try to ignore it. He’ll grow out of it. Make sure he has a tissue or handkerchief, and then try to ignore it.
Or you coud find something else for him to play with. Silly putty, a fidget spinner, a lego figure, a little 3-D puzzle.

Sandra


Karen James
 

***People DO things while they’re listening.***

My son used to pinch the underside of my arm while he was nursing.  It drove me crazy and it hurt!  I got a wee stuffed duck for him because he loved birds.  When he wanted to nurse we'd find the duck and then cuddle up.  

When he was older he used to bite his nails.  I got some cinnamon sticks for him to chew on.  He enjoyed those.  There are lots of other chewing options, but that seemed to satisfy him mostly.  He still chewed on his nails, but it was another option.  Now he doesn't bite his nails.  I honestly don't know when he stopped.  :-)

Options are good.  They help a person become more conscious of their actions and aware that there are choices.  Do I want to pick my nose or maybe I can pick at this crayon or pick the bark off this twig instead? 

I've heard that picking one's nose has some benefits for the immune system.  So there's that.  ;-)

Karen James