Picking Your Nose

One of my clients was telling me some things that are frustrating to her about her child.

On the list was: He picks his nose.

Client: “It is so disgusting. And then I have to tell him again and again how gross it is and how socially unacceptable it is. People are going to think he is disgusting.”

Me: “When you think that your child is disgusting for picking his nose, how do you feel towards him?”

Client: “disgusted and annoyed.”

Me: “Do you like to feel that way?”

Client: “No. It feels terrible. Moms shouldn’t think that way about their children.”

Me: “Did you know that picking your nose isn’t disgusting.”

Client: “WHATTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!” Of course it is! How could it not be.

Me: “Did you know there are some studies that show that nose pickers have better immune systems. Only if they eat what they pick, however.”

Client: “Once again. How is it not disgusting.”

Me: “It’s merely and finger and a nose. I’m certain that in some places in the world it is totally socially acceptable to pick your nose. Why have you decided to believe that the motion of inserting your finger into your nose is disgusting? Children put their fingers in their mouths and suck their thumbs and that isn’t disgusting. We put our fingers in our mouths to lick frosting. That isn’t disgusting.”

Me: “Did you know that it isn’t your child’s nose picking that makes you feel disgusted and annoyed. It’s your thought that it’s disgusting that makes you feel that you.

Me: “If it is your thought that makes you feel that way, do you want to keep thinking it? Is it helping you to be the mom you want to be?”

Me: “Do you have to believe it is disgusting?

Client: “No.”

Me: “It’s totally ok for you to keep that belief, but only if you want to keep thinking that your child is disgusting. But just be honest with yourself about why think he is disgusting. He isn’t disgusting. It is your thoughts about him that are disgusting. It is your thoughts that disgust you.”

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