Question About a Behavior

Updated on February 02, 2010
E.L. asks from Canton, MI
7 answers

My child has a behavior that I don't really understand. Every few months he will start scratching his face and neck very often throughout the day. The behavior is a repeated act. What I mean is that he will scratch the same spots on himself all day long, but only once at a time, (between his eyes, the side of his nose, the back of his neck, or his ear), but doesn't do it when he is sleeping. This will happen for about a month, then will totally stop. 3-4 months later, the behavior will start again.

I took him to an allergist and he said that he doesn't seem to have any allergies, and that what this behavior looks like to him is a tic. Does anyone here have any experience with anything like this? I'm hoping this is something that he will outgrow. Any advice or information that anyone here can give me would be very appreciated. Thanks.

Editing to add: There is no stress that he is going through. I'm a stay at home mom and he and I are together all day long. This behavior comes and goes every few months and has occurred since he has been two years old. He is now three and a half. I have asked him if he is itchy, and he has said yes, but it's not something I want to make a big issue of, so I don't ask him too often. I'm hoping that he will grow out of it one day!

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C.S.

answers from Detroit on

Hi,
Has your child been vaccinated? If so, these episodes could be the beginning of adverse reactions to the toxic chemicals contained in the vaccines that children receive at the pediatricians. You may want to get online and start researching vaccines. Your pediatrician will not be helpful in this area. Your best resources can be other Mothers who have begun to research this hot topic. Usually Mothers don't start to question vaccines until something starts going wrong with their children's health or behavior. Locally there are two great resources to get you started. 1) Look up the website of Mary Tocco. She is a well-repected researcher and lecturer and lives locally. 2) Michigan Opposing Mandatory Vaccines (M.O.M).
I hope this helps.
C.

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A.G.

answers from Detroit on

I hope my response makes you feel a little better...

I had tics as a child. Mostly wrinking my nose in a funny way, rubbing my ear on my shoulder and rubbing my index finger on my ring finger knuckle. Odd, huh? Fortunately I did grow out of it, but I am still a pretty figdety person in general. The time when I had the most tics was when I was being treated for ADHD and I felt really under the microscope and like all the grownups were constantly judging me. It made me feel really uncomfortable. The worst part was that my mother thought she could get me to stop my tics by pointing them out to me. And not in a sweet way... in a mean, demanding way. "STOP... CONTROL YOURSELF!" I highly recommend you NOT handle your son's tics like my Mom did. Drawing attention to tics and making a kid feel stressed about them makes them even more uncontrollable. For someone with tics the urge to tic is as uncontrollable as needing to blink. So you can imangine how hard it would be to have someone on your case about blinking. Hang in there, be supportive and ask the pediatrician if he/she would recommend your son see a child neurologist/psychiatrist for help, or if the tics will dissappear as he grows older. Mostly, don't freak out or jump to conclusions.

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C.N.

answers from Detroit on

I was going to say exactly that, that is sounds like a tic, and then I read it in your post. My nephew experienced a lot of these, he is now 16, and seems very normal, but has been diagnosed with Torrets (not sure if I spelled that right) which, while it has awful negative correlations to people who scream profanities at any given time and other "odd" behaviors, it is actually a spectrum disorder and can affect people in a broad range of ways. With my nephew, he experiences the tics as a way to release anxiety. He is a sweet sweet kid, but is flunking out of high school and is now in an alternative school. It seems now that a lot of his problems in school can be related to anxiety and feelings of fear of failure, blahblah. He was diagnosed just last year and they started him on anti anxiety meds, but for so long we all just thought that was just his personality and yadayada, we didn't pay enough attention. So, my point is, there is a wide range of why's and when's for tics, if it were my child, I would discuss it with the pediatrician, do some research on your own and just watch him as he gets older. Consequently, my 9 year old also experiences tics, but he is not experiencing any other issues, he can be a little obsessive about things but I just talk him through that stuff and he does fine, great student, great little athlete, very socially in tune. Just keep an eye on it and take care of it if it starts to get out of control, often though they will "grow out" of that stuff.

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M.C.

answers from Detroit on

It's hard to say. What does your son say when you ask him. Does he really itch? If so, it could be some sort of dermatitis. When I had eczema I itched in those similar areas. But I only get it when I am stressed, and it is not noticeable on my skin. Maybe there is something going on at school or home? Talk to him and see if there is anything bothering him.
If he doesn't know why he does it, then you should monitor it more closely and talk to your doctor. But don't make a big deal about it, you don't want to make him self conscious.

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S.C.

answers from Detroit on

What some of the other mothers have said is correct. Tics can be a sign of stress in a child. My middle son has tics from Turrets Syndrome (among other diagnosis'). He tends to lick his lips and wash his hands compulsively and to the point of chapping so bad they bleed when he's under alot of stress. Changing his anxiety meds has helped some but the meds are not the cause of the tics. My son also suffers from Trichotillomania (impulsive pulling of body hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, leg hairs, etc,) which is also considered a tic. It is a sensory and/or nervous response to something in their environment. Sometimes they grow out of it other times they need help. As stated in other responses I would ask your pediatrician for his/her input and go from there. Follow your gut instinct. Try to find out if anything inparticular sets him off. It could be something as small as sharing a toy or not getting a snack he wants. If you think your son would benifit from a visit to a neurologist or psychiatrist don't hesitate to go. You have nothing to lose by going for an opinion and/or testing. The earlier you get help the better off your son will be. You can also ask school for an evaluation. My middle son is a productive eleven year old now and doing ok in school with additional help and therapy for his conditions. I can empathize with you, too. I'm starting to see tics in my six year old as well. His world is changing now that he's in school. There are more demands on him than he's comfortable with, it's proving to be stressful and he releases his frustration in the form of tics. He'll lick his lips and pick at his lips until they bleed. Other times I've caught him biting his nails to the quick and making them bleed, too. Just remember it is involuntay, your son probably doesn't even realize he's doing it. I know my kids don't realize it when they're doing anything compulsive. You are not alone with this situation. I hope this helps. Feel free to email me if you'd like to chat about this more.

S.

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E.F.

answers from Detroit on

E.,
Perosnally I don't think it has anything to do with vaccines like the previous response.
My nephew had a similar problem and it turned into exzema and allergies, perhaps its related. Maybe something is triggering it to flare at certain times or could it be a nervous habit? Maybe talk to an allergist/dermatologist. Good luck!

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J.M.

answers from Tucson on

Hi there, sounds like it could very well be a tick -but you may want to look into yeast related problems in the gut. Children with imbalanced flora and fauna can experience itchy skin described as the sensation of bugs crawling under it! Does he have rosy cheeks, not rashy, but rosey colored. Any problems with constipation or diarrhea? frequent sore throats? chalky tongue? bad breath?