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Preschoolers & Kindergartners What a fun time in life! Time to learn 123's and ABC's. At the same time, they're leaving that babyhood we'll miss so much!

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Old 07-13-2006, 03:55 AM
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sounds like this hits all ages..when I was talking with my gdd on the phone last week she told her 7 yr old to stop chewing her hair...didn't hear any more about it...
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Old 07-13-2006, 08:32 AM
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Hair chewing, hair twisting, and hair pulling are placed in a psychology category called trichotrillomania. It's common in preschoolers and usually ends by the time they go to school. Yes, it is a stress reliever. Children don't know constructive ways to deal with anxiety, and this is a common thing for them to do until they learn to adjust.
I don't agree with this. Trichotrillomania is very uncommon and always has hair pulling as the most common symptom. It is an impulse control disorder and your child sounds more like she is just needing something for comfort or doing it out of boredom. However, I do agree that it wouldn't hurt to take the child to a doctor.

With that being said, you might want to see if you can replace the hair with something else that will soother her. It will be difficult because the hair is always there. Some ppl just neen more things to soothe them than others whether it be nail biting, skin chewing, hair chewking, sucking on things, and so on. I remember how difficult when my DD was sucking her thumb. Things like this is difficult to break because the body and everything attached to it and so handy! lol At 2 1/2 years of age, I really wouldn't worry about it. She is still in the oral and anal stages and may grow out of it, my DD did. Besides giving her something else to suck and chew on, which can later be taken away to help her break the habit, you could also put her hair up in a pony tail.

Good luck! I'm interested to know how she is doing. I bet she has stopped by now.

Margaret, at 7, that might be a problem. It isn't normal at 7, but it also isn't serious in that she'll be hurt by it.
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Old 07-13-2006, 09:49 AM
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I can remember twisting my hair around a finger and chewing on the ends in school through high school. I would do it during a stressful test.

Hair takes a long time to break down in the body so if she isn't passing it a big chewing problem could cause her some problems down the road.

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Old 02-01-2007, 09:51 AM
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I am currently sitting in a law school class and the student right next to me has not stopped eatting/chewing her hair since the semester has begun. when its not in her mouth she is staring at it over the rims of her glasses. I know this is a post for children, but this is a 25 year old woman and this is shockingly disruptive and just plain disgusting. I mean how is this woman going to be a successful lawyer. Just wanted to share this story with you. Maybe it will be a good story to share with your hair-chewing children.
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:34 AM
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Welcome to FC, Ktpotatie! I wonder if she realizes that she does it and how it appears to others? She should really see a doctor. This behavior might be controlled with some OCD meds. I bet you have a difficult time trying not to stare.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:15 AM
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My 6 yr old was having a lot of anxiety & seperation anxiety. It got to the point where she couldn't be away from me for anything. We went to her pediatrician & she prescribed Zoloft and had us go to a psychologist. She went to the pschologist for about 4 months and she has been on the Zoloft since July. She's finally much better and we're weaning her off the Zoloft, she'll be done next week. During this time of anxiety, which the dr. said we'll never know what caused it, she started chewing on her hair. My dh & I kept trying to stop her from doing this and I mentioned it to her psychologist & she said not to worry about it. She said a lot of adults have habits (nail biting, etc) and that it wasn't anything to worry about. We would still remind her that she was doing it if we saw her chewing on it, we would just say, "Abby, hair." and she'd stop. I don't even think she realized she was doing it. Now that her anxiety is pretty much gone she rarely chews on her hair anymore. There are many other harmful habits they can pick up so hair chewing is actually preferable, although not so "nice" to look at. Luckily we have a wonderful pediatrician and she hooked us up with a wonderful psychologist. I didn't think I would survive the anxiety, but she's pretty much back to her old self now.

Good luck, try not to berate her for it, just give gentle reminders. We were getting so frustrated w/ it in the beginning that we were on her case all the time, but when we started just giving gentle reminders (Abby, hair) she would take it out of her mouth w/out complaining. I also gave her rewards when I noticed that her hair was slobber-free at the end of the day. She's very motivated by positive reinforcement. I also tried to catch her not chewing on her hair and I would tell her she was doing a great job keeping her hair out of her mouth.

After going through the anxiety w/ my dd I would recommend that you ask her ped., but if that's her only sypmtom of anxiety I bet they'll tell you it's nothing to worry about.

Let us know how things are going.
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:52 PM
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Mindy, that is great that things went so well with your DD. You are great to be so on top of things and to work on the situation before it becomes a bad habit.
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