Does anyone out there have a child who pulls their hair? My son is 4 1/2 and started pulling his hair at 2 1/2. We have to just keep buzzing it, which is ok, but he does have a bald spot on the top of his head where he pulls. His doctor keeps telling me that right now, it is considered a habit, just like biting his nails, and that if it continues when he gets older, they will have to determine if he has a form of OCD. He is totally normal in every other way. No problems in pre-school...I am frustrated!
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Alison - posted on 01/20/2009
You might want to read up on Trichotillomania. It's the medical term for people who pull their hair out of habit. I only know about this because a friend of mine is a psychologist who specializes in this disorder. The term sounds more frightening than it is (we all have mild Trichotillomaniacal habits like pulling on our eyebrows without even realizing it). So don't be afraid. If you want more information, here's her website and it has links that you might find interesting.
Anon - posted on 12/21/2013
I used to do this as a kid, pull hair out by the strand and play with it. I used to wrap it around my thumb and suck on my thumb. I'm 30 now and I still pull strands out once and a while. I usually wrap it around the base of my middle finger or pinky on my left hand only. I don't know why I do this, but I have noticed I only do it when I have a lot on my mind. I have never had bald spots because it's not something I do every day. When I was around three, I remember my dad pointing out a chick at the grocery store who had one side of her head shaved. He told me if I kept pulling my hair I would look like her. I think that helped me and it went from a compulsive thing to a once in a while thing.
Lori - posted on 01/20/2009
My daughter also pulled her hair when she was about 2 years old. She had beautiful curly hair except on one side of her head. She would pull one or two strands, wrap it around her "sucking" fingers and suck on them. I think she liked the texture or something. We taped mittens on her hands at night (to her pjs) because this is when she did it most. I could stop her during the day and let her know that wasn't a good thing to do. They did xrays on her to make sure she wasn't swallowing the hair - she wasn't thank goodness. She grew out of the habit within about 3-4 months of taping the mittens on her. She was also totally normal in every other aspect. She has since grown into a beautiful 18 year old. Good luck!
Kim - posted on 01/20/2009
My best friend's son also does this, but he's older. He started at about age 7-8 when his dad left. His has been attributed to anxiety, but I doubt a 2 1/2 year old would have anxiety. As a parent of a child with ADHD, I can tell you that most doctors will not screen for ADHD or OCD at the age of 4 because it's difficult to tell if it's "normal" 4 year old behavior or actually one of those disorders. Like the other mom has said, though, has he been tested for anything else? Other sensory disorders or even mild forms of autism can cause these types of behaviors in young children. Or, as your doctor seems to think, it could just be a habit that he might grow out of. Have you tried getting him to wear a hat so he can't get to the hair? My best friend has to do that with her son when he starts and it seems to help because he can't get to the hair and even at age 11, he doesn't take the hat off.
Leanne - posted on 01/20/2009
Hi, Just wanted to say my cousin's daughter had this and she had her head buzzed for a long time too! She is 7 1/2 now and has grown out of it. It turned out to be just a habit for her, she now has beautiful long hair :) Anyway, this is not to say for sure that that is exactly the same as your son so maybe testing is not a bad idea regardless.
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