child picking skin

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February 12, 2008

uvinerse hmmm, this sound pretty serious. First off, your kid is telling the truth, it starts with your daughter not realizing that she's picking, in the middle of the picking session, she becomes aware, but will not have the power to discontinue what she is doing, The urge is overwhelming, especially a compulsion like this one, but for an 8 year old this must be unimaginably overwhelming. I have to say i'm pretty surprised. This thing usually begins at the teen stages. This could only means she's experiencing tremendous amounts of stress at such an early age. It's even possible that the stress she's undergoing is something she can't really put a finger on, if it's based on one fear, a number of fears, bad experiences in her childhood that could be triggering her anxiety - it cud be a number of different reasons. The bottomline is, only your child knows, and she needs your support. Something is troubling her which is causing stress that's making her pick her skin. Picking skin is her refuge right now because it brings a kind of relaxing, calming effect on her whether she is doing it consciously or subconsciously, often times a combination of both. I am a sufferer of this thing for over 14 years myself, give or take a year, and stress, depression, anxiety, boredom are the major reasons for the compulsion. I'm sure whatever's troubling her is something she's in denial about or not want to confront. It's also probable, that it's somthing she's confused about or doesn't quite understand herself. Maybe if you can talk to her about it and guide her into talking about what her fears are and what's troubling her, and assuring her that everything's going to be all right and that she has nothing to be afraid of because you're there for her, i think that cud help her picking ease. You have to understand that your daughter is picking her skin as a device to comfort herself , to cope from things that are troubling her - but be aware that she does not know that she is picking her skin as a means to cope from stress. I myself realized this only years into the compulsion and at an age way older than 8. What she needs is your support more than ever right now because this compulsion is realy something an 8 year old wudn't be able to handle. This wud just be too overwhelming for her. Remember to not be so hard on her Amy, It's not her fault, it really isn't. If she can find refuge in you, and if you cud give her your all out support and help her get rid of her fears, I'm certain that the picking wud gradually decrease. You're daughter's already shown clear signs of this compulsion at an early age, i don't want to give this to you bluntly, but if she does get rid of the skin picking, you have to realize that the compulsion does come and go. I don't want to scare you but it really is something similar to alcoholism. If she successfully quits this thing, don't be surprised if it's back again a few years, months, or even weeks later. I don't really have an explanation for it, but ther just hasn't been enuff research on this thing yet. I guess people aren't yet aware of how serious and how destructive this compulsion is and how it ruins lives, but i guess people just really haven't heard of this compulsion before and still have no idea it exists.
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March 31, 2008

"Writing is the only thing, that when do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." Please do not get angry for or ground your daughter for this. It is (I am telling you from 30 years experience and a mom of 2 myself) NOT something she can help. The best thing you coud possibly do for her is to help her continue to treat her wounds with the help of her pediatrician, and discuss with him getting her in to talk to a therapist who specialises in ocd. ASAP. Please read my most recent post on my own history to see any similarities. I do not want your daughter to go on into her 30's not knowing how to feel in control of herself because her mother was just angry and fed up that she couldn't stop as a child. This is exactly the way it went with my parents (whom I was very close to) and now wish very much they would have had the heart to ge me into counseling at a young age. Please read my post, and good luck to you both. Cheers ~simceiwas4
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January 07, 2010

My heart breaks to read this, as it reminds me of when I was a little girl. My mum was loving too, like u and would often see me picking/scratching..I was never a naughty child, but i would get scolded for doing this, so i hid my obbsessive need to pick at myself...i used to think the itchiness under my skin was a result of mozzie bites, but i had placed a infection in my bloodstream from all the scratching, hense these scabs spread to other parts of my body & still do..Face, legs, arms & hands.. At present they r mostly on my leg, but i was horrified that at 33 it had gone to my bottom & back..I have nasty scars from when i was a child/teenager. Unfortunately it is at it's very worst, where the scabs just won't heal on my legs (obviously as a result from nightly scratching and this time antibiotics won't help..Hense i have stumbled across this website & finally found out why i have done this all my life..A light bulb has gone off in me,resulting in finding out that this problem has a name and an unbelievable amount of people suffer in silence from it..The way i look at it is that this disorder is a chemical imbalance in ones brain, leading to heightened levels of anxiety/stress that u can't explain, it is just there. The need to pick etc goes away when stressors are allieviated. Your GP may want to do some blood tests & swabs of her wounds. I just found out that i had a infection in my blood stream that could only be treated by certain antibiotics, it was immune to the other ones the doctors had given me over the years. I put betadine on my wounds, as this deters me from picking. I am happy that u have found this site & u r a very brave, loving mother to disclose such information on a forum.
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February 01, 2010

i see that this post is 2 years old and i would love an update about your daughter's condition. my sincerest hope is that she's improved and that your relationship continues to be strong and caring. ________________________________________________________________________ my long story short: i started out picking at my legs when i was 4 and haven't stopped for a day. when my parents tried to intervene as a child, i became an expert at hiding my scabs and refused to acknowledge the problem. i'm 32 now and have scars, marks and sores covering my whole body; skin picking has affected every part and day of my life. i finally sought help from a therapist last year, and we're slowly working through the sometimes overwhelming shame and helplessness that the problem has caused. we've been talking this last week about what my parents could have done to help and i can think of just two things: __________________________________________________________________________ first, my parents could have done everything in their power (although i was extremely stubborn and strong willed :)) to get me to talk to a therapist back then. they tried to take me to our family doctor and hospital, but i refused to talk about it and developed an ongoing fear of medical doctors. my parents didn't realize that my problems weren't physical but mental. although i was far too ashamed to talk directly about the picking to a scary, clinical doctor in a bright office with witnesses, i think i would have talked to a kind, gentle counselor privately about all the other things causing me troubles in my young life. lessening the stress and anxiety that i (and most kids, really) felt would have relieved some of the deep emotions that worsened my picking. i think, after establishing a trusting relationship with a therapist, i would have eventually opened up about picking and accepted help before it got worse. _____________________________________________________________________ second, my parents could have found others that have the same problem for me to talk to - almost a mentor? i grew up feeling that i was all alone in this and that no one could possibly understand. i believed a conversation between my mom and dad: that i would simply grow out of it. it wasn't until i was in my 20's - having definitely NOT grown out of it - that i discovered (thank you, internet) all the other people that struggle for answers. as a kid, i had no idea how bad it could get, and i think meeting someone who accepted and identified with the irrationality of skin picking on the most basic level - through experience - would have helped tremendously. if your daughter still struggles, i bet there's many of us (including myself) who would be open with you both to help better understand what you're dealing with. __________________________________________________________________________ on a good note, although my problems are severe, i have absolutely had a pretty full and fulfilling life to date, with lots of 'normal' times and hope for an even more fulfilling future as i work through my issues. so will your daughter. please assure her that, although it certainly feels like it's the end of the world when you're young (and even some days when you're old), this problem DOES NOT define her. please try not to say things like, "you'd be so pretty if you'd just stop"; similar comments from my well-meaning family made me feel awful and seemed to confirm my worst fears of being ugly. continue to be supportive and certainly let us (me) know how we can help.
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July 15, 2014

Your post made me cry. I am so happy to hear you are recovering and found help to heal. I am a 44 year old mom and my 12 year old daughter picks her skin. She is first born, very bright, pretty and ANXIOUS... Her father and I divorced 6.5 yrs ago and unfortunately it has been a horrible ride. I do not talk badly about him; however he bad mouths me to them. She has been in therapy for 6 years and while she is very verbal and open, I question how much she is benefitting from therapy. I am a social worker myself and have helped many tweens stop picking; yet I can not seem to help her. My heart breaks at the sight of her scars and realizing how much she is struggling. I would greatly appreciate any help you can offer me...
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July 16, 2014

I started picking my skin at 9. I am 29 now and still have this problem but only slightly. I never received help though so your daughter is a step ahead. We are not the same person, I do not know what will work for her exactly but I know for me if my mom was trying to help me stop picking and trying to get in my head to figure it out, I would have picked more. Not saying anything about you, but unfortunately my mom's personality was something that set me off. She made me more anxious. What makes your daughter more anxious? When does she seem irritated. She may not pick at that moment but it will come back later when she is in front of a mirror. If you are close and she does not become anxious when you talk to her about this problem, maybe you can try to come up with solutions together. You can help her acknowledge when she is feeling anxious and to FEEL it, not trance it away later in the mirror. How can you make the anxiety go away? Maybe you can try different techniques everyday and see what helps. Carry squeeze balls all day, look up pranayama-yogic breathing techniques and do them twice a day, have her use a hairbrush to brush her body, exercise hard, learn to knit, scream. Just ideas. And make her accountable. She needs to ask herself every time she is picking if she wants this. Is she going to let her brain pull a fast one on her and make her do something she doesn't want to do to self soothe or now that she knows she is doing it, is she going to say No, I am not going to allow this. I will find another way to feel better. I don't know where she picks but for me it was the bathroom a lot. Giving myself time limits, keeping the light off, telling myself I won't look in the mirror before I even go in. Seeing how fast I can get in and out helped me.
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May 30, 2010

HI, I had no idea this was a medical problem, skin picking. My little girl is 2 and a half. She has had three unexplainable sores on her face that she continually picked at. It takes a long time for them to heal as she is picking them every time they scab over. She is a beautiful little girl with blond hair and blue eyes yet already has one scar on her forehead in between her eye brows. I wonder what I can do for her as she is so little. Right now she has a sore on her chin and it is infected. I clean it and put a bandage on it, she pulls the bandage off. Why is she doing this? What causes this? She is a little bit more nervous about things than her two siblings. I see that this occurs more often in children who are a little older, is there something I can do now? I don't want to make any wrong moves (or any more if I already have). I have been explaining to her that her "owies" will get worse if she continues to touch them, but she forgets or just does not understand. I would love to hear the results of a similar story. Thank you. Holly
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August 24, 2011

I first noticed my daughter picking her scabs when she was around 1 1/2 years old. At the time she had dry skin on her face and it would itch. She would scratch it until it formed a sore, that would form a scab and then she would pick the scab. That was the first time that I noticed that she did that. But it didn't happen too often. At the time I thought that it was just childhood curiousity, and I brought it to her pediatricians attention and the doctor didn't think too much of it. The doctor just told my daughter to stop picking her scabs. My daughter is now 13 years old and picks at everything on her body. She is a beautiful girl, but her legs and arms are covered with scars from her picking at any sore on her body. It looks like her legs were put through a meat grinder. I've tried every over the counter medicine available. My daughter says that nothing helps relieve the itch. Sometimes I found blood on her sheets. How can I help my daugher ?
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April 11, 2012

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