A 1995 study on rhinotillexomania (compulsive nose picking) even found that 91% of the participants admitted to the habit of nose picking. However, despite the fact that it is the body’s natural reaction to dislodge an irritating object and that a lot of people may privately indulge in this, the action is still frowned upon in most societies and elicits responses ranging from disgust to revulsion. (Jefferson, 1995)
Unfortunately, like most children, I too have picked my nose during the early years of my childhood. I specifically remember one particular instance of indulging in this habit while in public – with an utter disregard for either my horrified parents or the other adults present in our house at that time, whose reactions had ranged between pretending that they could not see me, mild amusement, nervousness, attempts to suppress any regurgitative instincts, frowning, seeking my parents’ attention and, of course, chiding me for my unruly behavior.
While some may argue that we need to be more considerate towards our body’s natural needs, I for one would feel rightly snubbed if – heavens forbid – I ever find myself engaging in this exercise in public again, even if in the company of complete and total strangers. Nose-picking, hence, is rightly seen as a deviant behavior, and is even treated as a disorder in severe cases. While it breaks no laws stated in statute books or otherwise, it does contradict the very code of social behavior that an individual is expected to adhere to when in the presence of others.
Therefore, using Travis Hirshi’s control theory, one can understand why it is important to actively discourage this habit in children from the very early stages of childhood through outer controls exerted in the form of parental disapproval and peer ridicule since it is these very controls that later reinforces a person’s inner controls, such as a sense of social etiquettes, enabling them not only to resist indulging in nose picking while in public, but also to actively discourage it in others. (Browne, 2005)
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