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nervous habits

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
DD1 will be 4 right after the new year, she started picking at her lips a few months ago. I noticed her doing it when she got nervous, she is "shy," she still does it then, but now it's a habit. I notice her doing it, and I know that she doesn't realize what she is doing. Her poor lips are always bleeding and raw I can never get them healed. Is there something I can do to help her?
post #2 of 21
I don't know. My son has taken to sucking his lower lip and now it's swollen on one side. '

I hope someone has some good ideas?
post #3 of 21
My dd started twisting her hair out just before she turned 4. I started by cutting her hair short, with her blessing. Then, I would remind her every single time I saw her doing it. No twisting. I noted the times she was likely to do it, and tried to find other things for her to transfer the habit onto like a necklace, toy, etc. It worked, and within a few months she no longer twists her hair, but she has asked to keep it short.

For lips, I might try something like a flavored lip balm or several different ones even. When she starts to do it, remind her to use the lip balm instead. You could also transfer the picking to something else. Would a necklace, beads, shell, worry stone, doll, something work? Even getting her to pick at her clothes might help. Keep her hands busy. Every time you see her doing it, gently remind her not to do it and suggest an alternate behavior. Hopefully, she will be able to adjust to something that won't cause as much damage.
post #4 of 21
Sounds like a B vitmin deficiency. Can you add lecithin to the diet?
post #5 of 21
My son developed many nervous habits (lip-licking, nail biting, eye-blinking to name a few) at the height of his anxiety at age 4. I actually found that [B]ignoring[B]them made them go away faster and mentioning them made him more nervous. You can use lip balm while she's asleep to alleviate the sore skin.
post #6 of 21
Originally Posted by E.V. Lowi View Post
Sounds like a B vitmin deficiency. Can you add lecithin to the diet?
Can you give some more information about that? I have never heard a connection between lip-picking and vitamin deficiencies.

My ds picks his lip raw, too. Not so much when he seems nervous, exactly, but very frequently. he also plays with his hangnails and sucks on his sleeve (blech). I pretty much ignore these behaviors, since they don't seem to be accompanied by anxiety. I will ask him if the picking hurts his lip, but he always says no, so I move on.

I am a "picker" too, in much the same way as him, so I guess he comes by it honestly. It can be strangely engrossing/soothing :
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
I think DD1 combined DH and my habits. I get very uncomfortable around strange people, and can remember being painfully shy as a child, and DH is a picker. His hands are always bleeding from him picking at his fingers, he does it when he is anxious.

DD1 has probably 10 tubes of flavored lip balm floating around the house, she'll ask for it herself sometimes, and I always put it on her before going to bed. I have never said anything about her lip picking, I figured if I ignored it then it would go away, but it just keeps getting worse. There is a tricky line there, sometimes she does it just sitting here at home when she isn't nervous, and other times I can tell she is uncomfortable. She just had a little holiday thing for her dance class, the entire time we were there she was picking at her lips, she didn't even stop to dance (and she loves to dance, loves her class) she just danced while picking her lips the entire time. I understand if she needs something to make her feel better, but i also would like her not to make herself bleed... She is very slow to warm up, she just started talking to the woman who does storytime at the library, we've been going since she was 1.
post #8 of 21
Somebody here once suggested a special necklace (beads) or something to put in the child's pocket that they can fondle or pick at instead of the body part in question. You could try talking to her about it and suggest she "pick" the necklace when she feels like picking her lips, that way they won't be sore and bloody anymore.

My son used to tear at his nose because it "itched" and his nostrils were always raw looking and scratched. I taught him to rub it with a kleenex instead of scratching, and it worked. He stopped doing it entirely after a while. Running for a kleenex all the time was a deterrent, I guess.
post #9 of 21
Just have a second here but my ds had several nervous habits but now that he's really focused on gymnastics (team) and skiing, they have all disappeared. I suspect it's more the gymnastics and teaching them to focus and be disciplined for their routines. But, anyways, he's 5.5 and has zero nervous habits now. btw, he absolutely loves his sports. Not sure of the connection but he's incredibly calm and confident.

good luck!
post #10 of 21
My ds developed the habit of constantly rubbing his lips with his fingers and cracking his jaw it drives me batty. I try not to comment on it and reditrect him. My dh, however, tells him to stop constantly (and that drives me crazier then ds's habit). I have been unable to peg the situations that cause it.
post #11 of 21
My DS has nervous habits too and he's also really shy. He likes to touch my hair when he's nervous and he likes to suck his fingers and chew hi shirt. I usually try to hold him on my lap when he's feeling nervous and that helps.
post #12 of 21
My son licks his lips and will give himself a rash on the skin below his bottom lip. I have found that telling him to stop licking when he's doing it works just fine, and I offer chapstick (he usually turns it down, but he still stops). I put Lansinoh on his face at bed time which really works on chapped skin. I think he just does it because his lips are dry, though, which isn't really a nervous habit... but the leap from licking to chapstick sounds like going from picking lips to picking something else.
Also, I get annoyed when my lips are a little chapped and I pick it-- making sure she uses chapstick all the time should keep her lips from getting rough in the first place. And a trick I came up with as a kid is to melt chapstick and sugar (or pixy stix) together and rub that on your lips to exfoliate them. Yum.
post #13 of 21
I'm sorry, I don't have a link to the information about the effects of B vitamin on OCD but there have been some threads over in the Mental health forum, here which you may be able to fine through the search. The one on Inositol is interesting and which Lecithin in the diet, provides.
post #14 of 21
Do you mean if it's a compulsive thing, it's indicative of a Vit. B deficiency?

Hmmm. I dunno about that. But it could be true.

My daughter chews on everything. She's nearly 8 and still does it. And yes, she was breastfed. Over three years. So it's not that she wasn't orally satisfied, as the Freudians would suggest. She doesn't necessarily do the chewing thing when she's shy or bored or nervous. I try to honor the impulse and give her something to chew on, like a washcloth that I won't care if it gets ripped to shreds. I'd rather that than the sleeve of her shirts.
post #15 of 21
[QUOTE=KaraBoo;6835051]Do you mean if it's a compulsive thing, it's indicative of a Vit. B deficiency?

Hmmm. I dunno about that. But it could be true.

According to the links that were provided in the Mental Health forum, the nervous habits such as hair and skin picking were relieved with high doses of Inositol-between 200and 1500 mg in the study. Please consult a holistic health care professional for more details.
post #16 of 21
I'm sure there's some truth in that but there are probl. about a million variables you'd need to rule out, too.
My ds2 plays w/his hair when he's tired. He's watched me playing w/my hair at night for all 4 years of his life. My Mom did, too.
So, for us...I'm not worried about OCD or supplements.
post #17 of 21
Originally Posted by E.V. Lowi View Post
Hmmm. I dunno about that. But it could be true.
Oh. I thought you were implying that. I was confused. Sorry!
post #18 of 21
Consistently chapped or bloody lips are a known symptom of B-vitamin deficiencies. I haven't seen anything about compulsive picking being linked to a deficiency.

In our cases, at least, we get plenty of B vites and still pick. :
post #19 of 21
Also make sure allergies/sensitives aren't making them worse.

If she lacks vit B her lips get agravated so she picks then she damages them causing her want to pick more.

My son and I battle with Trichotillomania. Dealing with enviornemental triggers help ease the emotional triggeres.
post #20 of 21
[Quote/] Marsupialmom: My son and I battle with Trichotillomania. Dealing with enviornemental triggers help ease the emotional triggeres.[/QUOTE]

Inositol was recommended specifically for this.
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