9yo persistent nose picking - ideas? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 02-20-2014, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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My 9yo DS is a constant, persistent nose picker. Particularly his left index finger in his left nostril. I drove on a field trip yesterday and witnessed his finger up his nose for probably 60% of the time. He does it absentmindedly, when he is listening/thinking. I don't think he is totally aware that he does it.

We do know that he has a deviated septum, and that makes his left nostril small and "congested" feeling. So that's definitely a factor. I'm sure that we will ultimately have the septum repaired, but that has to wait for puberty.

This is NOT a new habit. He has done it for as long as I can remember. We tried the "wash your hands" afterward, having a code word to alert him to absentminded behavior, and also having tissues EVERYWHERE. Nothing has worked. His nails are always bloody from the picking. Gross. And increasingly socially inappropriate. I hate to think that he will be "the one" who is the nose picker...

Today, I sent him to school with a big, fat Band-Aid on that one index finger. He was crestfallen. 90% chance he has taken it off/thrown it away by the time I pick him up at school. Sigh.

Anyone else deal with this? Any ideas?
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#2 of 5 Old 02-20-2014, 02:29 PM
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I was going to suggest the Band-aid, but I see you came up with it.


Aside from that, not pointing it out to him too often. Don't draw attention to it if you can avoid it.

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#3 of 5 Old 02-20-2014, 02:31 PM
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It could be an anxiety thing. Doing something absentmindedly like that while you are thinking or observing can be calming. Perhaps he needs to find a way to deal with anxiety that is more acceptable to do in public. Some people bite their nails because of anxiety also. I think they are similar. Be careful that the things you do to try and stop it don't create more anxiety.

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#4 of 5 Old 02-20-2014, 03:07 PM
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For my ds2 it was a sensory/anxiety thing. He would eat it, too. On the bright side, eating boogers is very good for the immune system!

I think one day a peer told him how gross it was and he stopped. He's almost 12 and hasn't done it now for years.
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Bring back the old MDC
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#5 of 5 Old 02-21-2014, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all three posts.

He is an interesting kid -- "unmeasurably high" verbal IQ, coupled with really low processing speed, mild inattentive ADD, and dysgraphia. Oh, and perfect (musical) pitch. I think I am not smart enough to parent him very well, but I try really hard.

That said, I agree that it could be anxiety-related. I certainly struggle with anxiety. He also picks at his fingernails, which I do think is 100% a nervous (anxious) habit. That one has abated a bit in recent years.

I also agree that, ultimately, someone (a peer, or a potential love-interest) is the most likely solution to the problem. I hate for it to come to that, but so it goes. Entering that age where peers have a great deal of influence over things like this...

Again, thank you for reading and replying! If the band-aids work, I'll post back for someone else to benefit!
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