Help! my almost 3yo is obsessed with touching ears! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 03-23-2009, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We weaned around Thanksgiving time, dd was about 31 months.

In the last month, she has become absolutely obsessed with ears; touching, pinching, pulling, sliding them between her fingers.

Mind you, she is unvaccinated and shows absolutely no other signs of autism or any other kind of medical issue.

But this recent development is driving dh and I crazy! It takes me an hour almost every day to get her down for naps because she can't NOT do it, and I get so irritated by it that we end up getting in a fight about it! EVERY TIME I pick her up (which is a lot, she's a very attached child still) her hands go straight for my ears.

It seems logical that it might have something to do with being weaned before it was HER decision (I'm pregnant), but that doesn't explain why it didn't manifest for 3 or so months.

It could be just normal behavior for this age (obsessing about something) but it is just so annoying that I'm going to go crazy trying to wait for it to pass!

Anybody else experience this? any tips or sugguestions?

Sadie
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#2 of 12 Old 03-23-2009, 11:26 PM
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My three and a half year old just starting doing this last week--it drives me frikkin' nuts sometimes!

The only think I can suggest and telling her that ears are very senstive and that it hurts when you pull on them and twiddle them too much. When I tell dd this, she usually stops for a while. Of course she later goes right back to doing it. Hopefully, just a phase.....

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#3 of 12 Old 03-24-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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Get her a set of those Star Trek Mr. Spock costume ears to play with.
Seriously, gentle redirection, offer a more acceptable body part (hand/arm) to touch, and tell her that it isn't comfortable for you when she does that. I think she is old enough to understand that some body parts are sensitive and don't like other people's touches. I'm sure she doesn't like it if you pick her nose for her or poke at her eyes to get sleeping sand out, right?

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#4 of 12 Old 03-24-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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My DD is doing exactly the same thing. Whenever I pick her up, or when she is falling asleep her hands go right to my ears. It drives me crazy too! Especially when I am lying in bed with her trying to get her to sleep, and I can only lie in one position because she wants access to both my ears at once.....

I have tried getting her to touch her own ears, her bears ears, and I have tried to get her attached to something else but so far no luck. She has been weaned for about a year so I don't think it is about that - it is like she one day (about 3 months ago) found my ears and was hooked!

The only thing that made her stop touching one of my ears was when she was pinching it so much that it hurt. I told her that it was hurt and that she could only touch the other one. She complied, but kept asking if the hurt one was better. I may have to resort to telling her both are hurt and we have to find another way for her to soothe herself......
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#5 of 12 Old 03-24-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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My daughter is obsessed with ears too. It started out that she was obsessed with rubbing elbows while sucking her thumb. Around age 3 or so, she switched to ears, which was a relief to us since she could rub her own ear while sucking her thumb.

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#6 of 12 Old 03-24-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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DD is obsessed with everyones moles and will twiddle them like she would a nipple. We saw a giant increase in this behavior after she was weaned.

Blessed with two BEAUTIFUL little girls: Kylie (09/06) and Maggie (4/09) :
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#7 of 12 Old 03-24-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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DS is 2.5 and is constantly trying to pinch our earlobes and cheeks. DH lets him play with his ears, so he does it all the time. I just don't let him do it. I tell him I don't like it, and I move his hand if he tries to do it, so he doesn't really try often with me anymore.

ETA: He weaned at 23 months, so that's not the issue for us.

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#8 of 12 Old 05-14-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sadie Lake View Post
We weaned around Thanksgiving time, dd was about 31 months.

In the last month, she has become absolutely obsessed with ears; touching, pinching, pulling, sliding them between her fingers.

Mind you, she is unvaccinated and shows absolutely no other signs of autism or any other kind of medical issue.

But this recent development is driving dh and I crazy! It takes me an hour almost every day to get her down for naps because she can't NOT do it, and I get so irritated by it that we end up getting in a fight about it! EVERY TIME I pick her up (which is a lot, she's a very attached child still) her hands go straight for my ears.

It seems logical that it might have something to do with being weaned before it was HER decision (I'm pregnant), but that doesn't explain why it didn't manifest for 3 or so months.

It could be just normal behavior for this age (obsessing about something) but it is just so annoying that I'm going to go crazy trying to wait for it to pass!

Anybody else experience this? any tips or sugguestions?

Sadie

Haha, do not worry a thing about it. As a matter of fact, and this may shock you, such actions at an early age is a sign of early maturity and high intellegence.

First off, let me just assure you that in no way will allowing your child to continue touching earlobes harm her in any physical or mental way. It is simply a form of comfort. Like some children, who bite their nails or suck their thumbs, this is just a less spoken of way to cope.

However, unfortuantely, there is a small chance of this habit going away.

When I was a toddler, I had numerous babysitters. When either a parent or gaurdian would try to put me to sleep, I'd always reach over and mess with their earlobes. I found it relaxing, nevertheless, it wasn't only a way of comfort. It was normally because I wasn't tired, or I was too excited or anxious about something, and because I was being forced to rest I had no choice but to release some of my energy by-well, rubbing earlobes.

I need you to check if your child is also making sucking motions inside her mouth to see if we're on the same page. If she is, that is just more proof that it's a psychologic state. However, this is a sign of stress. When hearing this, most parents make the mistake of going straight out and asking their child what is wrong. Do NOT do that. This will only alert him/her. If the child had avoided discussing the problem in the first place, and sought to this habit, then don't pry. Simply show more affection.

Still, even affection cannot berid of a habit once it has started. Being warm towards your child is only to prevent future psychologic damage. The habit itself, however, is different. It will not go away. But as your child grows more aware of her surrounding's feelings, she will start to withdrawl from others' ears, and instead on her own. She may even start to pinch and scratch at it. As long as she doesn't go overboard, there is no trouble.

Keep in mind, that I am fourteen, and I still play with my earlobe. As a child, my mother too has also been furious at my little nasty habit. She questioned therapists and doctors. I had never seen this as anything bad, and I still haven't. I am an indigo child, and if you're not familiar with this term, it is another story.

I hope this helped! Have faith in your daughter/son. They will grow up to be beautiful children, earlobe obsession or no obsession.

- Cassidy.
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#9 of 12 Old 05-14-2010, 09:33 PM
 
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Ha ha this thread is over a year old and my son still pinches earlobes! Did your DD ever get over it OP?

And I thought they locked threads after 6 months of no replies?

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#10 of 12 Old 05-16-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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I hate to say it, but I'm 31 and still obsessed with ears. :P Like Indigo Child mentioned, it's a source of comfort. Sometimes I'll find myself fiddling with my ear (or my husband's- he's great, he lets me!) and I hadn't even realized that I had been feeling anxious about something. It is surprisingly calming. They say there are nerves in your ears that if you press or rub, they release calming endorphins, but that doesn't explain why it's calming to rub DH's ears. Kind of embarrassing, but just wanted to agree with PP that it may not be a stage at all.
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#11 of 12 Old 09-17-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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Hi,

 Maybe this can help you out. Im 28 male and have been addicted to touching ears since I was about 2. My mom told me it started when I use to drink my bottle and before I went to bed.I use to touch my ears and suck on my tongue. I still do it to this day. It just cant be any ear, for me it has to be soft and sorta cold to the touch. Thats probably why she wants access to both ears. When one is warm I move to the other ear until the warm one is cool again. Its nothing sexual. I learned to touch my own ear when got my own room. It was and still is the only way I can fall asleep. Im not saying they wont grow out of it, but I dont think I ever will. I like it because it calms and sooths me instantly. If im nervous, sad, anxious etc. Its brings me back down. So all in all it helps me everyday life.

It was a very private thing for me to do. Just my mother. And now my wife who doesnt even notice anymore!!!!

GoodLuck!!!

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#12 of 12 Old 10-22-2012, 08:19 PM
 
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Hate to tell you this people but speaking from a guy who is aged 30 next month, that habit isn't going away anytime soon unless you use hypnosis. Not that this is a medical fact or that i have even considered it, but like its been mentioned before its definitely a act of comfort/stress relief i have been doing since i was a baby. But knowing why i was doing it has only really become apparent to me in the last week or so. However i think I've always kinda known it was for comfort.

 

The problem was touching other peoples ears which i have managed to stop myself from doing. I still get really tempted by the wife's but only because she is there and really accessible but she HATES with an absolute passion so now its really so much so that she has managed to use the tiny hairs surrounding her ear as a sensor (the cheeky cow) so now just my own ears.

 

Good news is, there's nothing to worry about. My one piece of advise would be to sway that person into only touching their own ears which can be easier said than done given the forbidden fruit theory but needless to say this habit is very very frequent having scowered the internet at 5am in the morning for the last 4hrs searching for a reason.

 

So now i'm going back to bed and caress my soft cold ears until i fall asleep and wake up late for work

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