Four year old licking hands - Mothering Forums

Four year old licking hands

becca_j's Avatar becca_j (TS)
01:48 PM Liked: 0
#1 of 8
09-19-2012 | Posts: 31
Joined: Apr 2007

So my almost 5 year old has been obsessively finger/hand licking.  Like every few seconds. He says they are dry but they don't seem to be and lotion doesn't help. 


He does not seem to be a particularly sensitive child but I am wondering if it is anxiety.


He hasn't been diagnosed but he seems to have some ADHD tendencies but so far has not have any issues in school. 


Every where on the web handlicking seems to be linked with special needs/OCD.  


Has anyone had a kid do this obsessively as a phase and it NOT be an indicator of issues?  Has anyone had this be the first indicator of greater issues to come?

IdentityCrisisMama's Avatar IdentityCrisisMama
06:37 AM Liked: 51267
#2 of 8
09-21-2012 | Posts: 10,677
Joined: May 2003

Hi, mama. I wanted to just write and give your post a bump and maybe suggest cross-posting (or linking this thread) in the Special Needs forum. If only because you're asking if this could be an indicator of ADHD or OCD. 



meemee's Avatar meemee
06:45 PM Liked: 1878
#3 of 8
09-23-2012 | Posts: 12,623
Joined: Mar 2005

mama i had to write but i am not sure if this applies.


my friend's son was having a hard time, a REALLY hard time with his teacher and the structure in first grade. 


he developed a tick. a kind of a jerky sequence of winks.


his ticks come on when he has high anxiety. but not when he doesnt.


another one has the usual one of chewing on the collar and another chewing on hair. 


they are all related to anxiety. 


K, first and second were really high stress school years. 3rd, 4th and 5th are different with different issues. it seems there is something to kids dealing with things better as they age. 


i have no idea about OCD or what happens with special issues as they grow up. i know a child who picks on her eyebrows still and she is 12. her parents dont seek a diagnosis, but i think she has OCD because whenever she has a sleepover her bed just has to be perfect - she feels every wrinkle. other things also really get to her where she cant function unless she takes care of it. however i am sure had it impacted her life hugely - enough to have other kids tease her - i am sure her parents would seek help.

A&A's Avatar A&A
05:16 PM Liked: 1858
#4 of 8
09-25-2012 | Posts: 16,186
Joined: Apr 2004

It sounds like it could be a tic, which is just a word for an obsessively-repeated activity.  Tics can be temporary, then can come and go, new ones can develop, and they can, apparently, get a lot worse during puberty and then generally subside during adulthood.  Or, he could just have this one tic and never have another.  The possibilities are all over the map.  There is some overlap between OCD and tics (both are somewhat genetic), but they aren't necessarily the same disorder.  Be aware, though, that ADHD meds can make tics a lot worse, so I would never put a child with tics on them.  The meds for tics are heavy anti-psychotics that I wouldn't put my child on, either.


   It's not necessarily related to anxiety, either.  And it's important to note that they can't control their tics much, if at all, so they shouldn't be shamed for the behavior.  In a way, it's like hiccuping.  It's just something the body does, whether you want it to or not.  

homeschoolingmama's Avatar homeschoolingmama
06:11 AM Liked: 64
#5 of 8
09-30-2012 | Posts: 945
Joined: Jun 2007

My son does this exact thing.  It started a couple of months ago.  He does fall into ADHD/Aspergers group (not diagnosed) but I know he is high functioning.  It is getting better with age.  He licks his hands very quickly and multiple times a day.  My son doesn't go to school so I don't worry about him being teased.  

rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme
06:26 AM Liked: 749
#6 of 8
09-30-2012 | Posts: 4,604
Joined: Apr 2008
My four year old does this. I attribute it to her still being basically in the oral stage. She likes using her tongue on pretty much whatever. Ok. Shrug.
proudMoMmy2634's Avatar proudMoMmy2634
10:06 PM Liked: 15
#7 of 8
10-03-2012 | Posts: 154
Joined: Jun 2012

Maybe you can try giving him some substitute to lick with than his hand. And having her checked by drs maybe a great idea too so you will also be free from

rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme
12:34 PM Liked: 749
#8 of 8
10-04-2012 | Posts: 4,604
Joined: Apr 2008

I'm at Disneyland right now. Every single line has had (at least one, often many) a parent saying, "Stop licking your hands." It's hilarious.

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