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Getting more concerned-- very oral DD

696 Views 10 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  babygirl24
My DD is 5. I've asked for help before about her oral habits. As recommended, I bought her "Chewelry" (the necklace and bracelet) but she won't use it . . .says it tastes bad.

Pretty much all day, she has something in her mouth . . .hair, hands. She picks her nose and eats what she finds (very often). Now she has started licking her hands and sometimes arms constantly. The other day she sucked on her arm. She did it again today so much it looks like a hickey.

I don't know what to do. She doesn't seem to have any developmental problems . . .makes friends easily and does above average work academically. She has never been very independent (never went thruogh the "terrific twos" of wanting to do things for herself). In that sense, she seems behind since she still complains when we don't do things for her (like carry her up to bed). I don't know if this is a self-soothing thing going on . . .she's been like this since before the age of 2 but it has gotten worse.

Is it just something I need to let go? She looks (in my eyes) really strange doing this, so I don't know if my concern comes from a worry about what others will think about her.

Help, please!
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Oh dear, I just bought some chewlery. I hope my son (almost 6) doesn't say that it tastes bad.

Have you tried chewing gum? My son went through a similar phase around 4 yo where he licked everything in sight. I use to give him chewing gum and it helped a lot. He's now sucking his lip really bad, so bad in fact that it's completely swollen on one side but every time I give him gum he swallows it so fast.

I guess I wasn't very helpful.
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Make your own "chewlery?" Check out the craft store to see if they have any beads that look trustworthy and maybe have a more palatable texture?

Gum is a good idea.

My older son was also very oral at age 5, and even at age 10 I still catch him licking his hands and arms in the wintertime. I think they get dry -- but I have a hard time getting him to use lotion. At 5 -- I just sort of grabbed him and smeared it on him myself.

It is only certain times of the year that he does these things -- the shirt chewing and the licking, etc. and I really think it must relate somehow to humidity and seasonal allergies, etc... So -- summertime might bring some relief to you as well.
You know, I do think you need to let go of worrying about this. Is she going to kindergarten in the fall? I would bet that age and being around other kids will take care of some of it (probably the nose picking) because other kids will comment. I remember chewing straws a lot as a kid, maybe you could try giving her a straw? They last a long time! Or what about those diving sticks to use in the pool? THey make straight ones, she might like those.

My DS is going to be 7 in May and he went through a big phase of chewing on his gloves, shirts, etc. We have video of him downhill skiing while chewing on his glove. (I wish I could be that relaxed while skiing!) I remember complaining to one of my friends and she said her son did that too and she just ignored it and it went away. And now that I think about it, I haven't seen DS chewing for at least a month now so I guess it does.

Anyway, I wouldn't take this as a sign that something is odd about your daughter. I think a lot of kids chew. I seriously remember chewing on pens until I got into college and was a microbiology major and started thinking about all the bacteria on them.
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My suggestion would be to keep trying to find something appropriate to offer her oral imput. That could include: gum, something fabric because that would be safe knit fabric maybe be particularly appealing, chewy and or sour candy if you allow that sort of thing. Also, I'd try to look overall at her sensory life and see if she's got a good balance of exercise and down time.

If you haven't already done so outside of the moment I would talk to her a bit about manners and how some oral behaviors are inappropriate in public. Beyond that I wouldn't nag her or make it a big deal but I would redirect her to take it to her room.
Could she have a vitamin deficiency? I know nothing about your situation, but when my oldest was 3 he was always sucking on his shirt. I read somewhere that it could be a vitamin deficiency and started giving him a multivitamin. The sucking went away almost immediately.

This may sound strange, but the licking of hands and arms makes me wonder if she needs salt. Our sweat and tears are salty, so maybe she's trying to fulfill her body's need for salt? Maybe snot is salty too.

It does sound like strange behavior to me--perhaps because I haven't experienced it--but if my child were doing it I'd try to figure out what was missing that was causing him to do that. From the way you describe it, it doesn't sound like something you can teach her to not do, it sounds like she's maybe not able to "control" it, meaning that she's compelled to lick.

Good luck, mama.
Just out of curiosity, I did a google search and found something I had learned in college, but I had forgotten....

Apparently your daughter is stuck in her "oral fixation=sexual gratification" stage. This of course would be your fault. (according to Freud) Because you either overfed, or underfed her.

Erogenous Zone in Focus: Mouth

Gratifying Activities: Nursing - eating, as well as mouth movement, including sucking, gumming, biting and swallowing, [and possibly oral "self injury..?].

Interaction with the Environment: To the infant, the mother's breast not only is the source of food and drink, but also represents her love. Because the child's personality is controlled by the id and therefore demands immediate gratification, responsive nurturing is key. Both insufficient and forceful feeding can result in fixation in this stage

So, there ya go. She is stuck in this stage, and will probably go to her first job interview with her shirt sleeve in her mouth. All because of your insufficient feedings.

LMAO!!! I know.
I have offended Freudians... I'm sorry. I just always get a kick out of reading his theorys.

Personally, although, I know it bugs the heck out of you. I would try to let it go. If you truly cannot bear to watch her do it, you should find a reminder word to help her. "Mouth" or "Hands!" is a good way to let her know she is doing it. This could be nothing more than a habit. I still bite my nails and swallow gum. I am 43, and cannot make myself stop. When I am nervous, or unhappy, I chew my nails. I was a hair sucker as a kid. When big collars were in, I sucked on those too. I outgrew all of them except the nail biting and gum swallowing. (Oh, I still put pens in my mouth too)

If you choose a word, make sure she knows what it is and why. Otherwise she will spend the first week wondering why you keep barking "Hands!" at her.

Good luck, I hope this is a short stage. I could stand most of her habits, but for some reason, licking drives me nuts. I couldn't take that for very long. Heaven forbid somebody lick me, I'd need a shower. LOL
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I can't help but wonder if it is a vitamin def or food sensitivity. My oldest was very oral (always had something in her mouth, chewed holes in collars and sleeves of shirts and chewed her fingers raw) and when we went on feingold (for behavior issues) her oral issues greatly decreased. Even now if she is reacting to something, she starts chewing more.
My dd (6) is calmed by chewing/sucking. She also leaves "hickeys" on her upper arms. She has SID, and I her oral behaviors are related.

We buy her gum (Spry, from the health food store. Sweetened with Zylitol--which I researched first--rather than sugar or asparatame). She also likes to chew frozen things--small ice cubes, frozen green beans, corn, berries, edamame, etc. Frozen veggies have worked very well--and are super nutritious, too! 2 birds, one stone
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I have read your posts about this before, Mizelenius. My son also went through a licking (himself) stage between the ages of 4 and 5.5. At 6.5 now, he regularly chews shirt sleeves to shreds, an dhe bites his nails, but those are the only major oral behaviors I see. For him, the licking was a part of OCD, which he does have. (I am not suggesting the same is true of your daughter!) At first I didn't know it was related, but he gradually incorporated some questioning into his compulsive rituals: Mom, I licked my fingers after i was digging in the sand, and I hadn't washed them. Is that okay? Mom, I was kneeling on the stool at the diner and then I licked my knee. Will I be okay? That was my first clue-in that he had been licking for a reason- and, one I'd never have suspected. He does also have sensory issues (not diagnosed, but apparent nonetheless) so it's kind of makes sense that his compulsions revolve around those, too. All this long-windedness to say that he does not lick anymore! But it did really worry me during the time that he was doing it. Strangely, he NEVER did it at school (or so the teachers reported) but all the time at home!
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I would think it is worth finding out more about. It is probably not something you can just tell her stop because it seems like there is more to it than that. Just my opinion though
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