nervous habits - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 11-14-2006, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm curious to know what others have done to help a child with a nervous habit. It isn't a tic, just a habit. DD (8) goes from one habit to the next. I know she gets easily anxious, and DH and I are trying to help her in a more "global" sense to handle stress. My concern with her habits is that sometimes they are embarassing in public or just really "uncouth" and downright offensive. Other times she does things like scratch her nose or face to the point of giving herself a rash. I don't want to comment too much to make her more self-conscious, but then giving herself a rash isn't good. Has anyone had success with tempering a nervous habit, or re-directing it without being critical of your child?


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#2 of 4 Old 11-14-2006, 02:30 PM
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Have you talked to your doctor? What makes you think these are habits and not tics?

DS 6 was doing a neck twitch for about 2 months. I was very worried. I video taped him doing it (without him knowing) and took it to the ped. He told me it was likely a "childhood transient tic disorder" that are common in childhood, that I should do nothing about it, and it will go away.

It was VERY hard for me to do NOTHING. I definitely understand the feelings you are having, especially about your child in social settings. I found someone watching my son as he twitched once, and I just wanted to start crying or screaming. It is hard.

BUT- he did grow out of it! Just another lesson in mothering and letting go. I'd talk to your doctor, though, since this seems to be a reoccuring problem for your little one.
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#3 of 4 Old 11-14-2006, 02:38 PM
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My DS was doing something strange with his mouth (making sort of an "O" shape with it) when DH and I were fighting a lot. This was a couple of years ago, before our divorce. (We are remarried now.) As soon as things got more stable/happy in our household, he stopped. I think it is caused by stress more often than not. Is there anything you can do to help your daughter's stress level?
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#4 of 4 Old 11-17-2006, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies. I have just tried very hard to not "notice", which seems to help to a degree because at least *I* am not stressing her more. It has been a very busy fall and I think we are all ready for some down time over the Christmas break.

Oh, about tics. I don't think she has a tic because she is able to control it. It is not involuntary. She is also able to change her habits as she wants to. Her habits have also developed from specific situations, like for a while her hair was really tangly until we changed conditioner for her and so she would sit and de-tangle her hair after a shower, then more often, then she discovered she could actually tie her hair in a knot like a shoelace so she ended up "layering" her hair in the front from it breaking off...SO THEN she had shorter hairs tickling her face, which resulted in a new habit evolving of scratching her face. So now she has two straight lines going down her forehead and down the sides of her nose. It looks rather silly, but I guess one of these days when she is older, she'll look in the mirror and think. "hmmm do I really want red lines on my face?"
Anyway, I guess the whole scenario is comical. I have realized that as I've written things down and watched these habits change and evolve.
I think my task is to learn to not be critical. My mother never let me decide how I wanted my hair or what clothes/shoes I wanted to wear. I have decided to let go of those things as much as possible and let her make those choices for herself, which does matter to her. I think I must also let go in this area to unless she decides she likes to do something which case I would run for therapy!

It's interesting....and I ramble.....My mother is very image conscious. She is a performer and her appearance matters for the stage...along comes me, her daughter who doesn't like to be on stage, hates to get manicures and am happy just putting up my hair in a ponytail. Then along comes MY daughter who would prefer to just be naked nature girl and gives no thought to appearances....anyway. I feel much better about the situation and have a much better perspective. Thanks!!
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