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neanah , 15 Jun 2009

Hints for helping an obsessive 4 year old?

I have a 4 year old son whose face I can't seem to get to heal. What started off as an insect bite on each cheek has turned into a series of sores that he constantly stratches and re-opens. He also has been tearing at the bridge of his nose, right between his eyes. His chin has also suffered at times, but is currently clear (it only took a month to get that way). Keeping bandages on him is helpful until he developed a latex allergy which caused the bandages to leave a painful, scabby rash, which he also picked at. I now keep paper tape (hypoallergenic) over his trouble spots, but if they come off during the day or I forget to apply the tape, we have to start over at square one. The spots on his face are going on 8 weeks now without healing. I think they are healed, I stop putting tape on his face, and presto, they are back. I know he inherited the trait from me. For me it was always a stress reaction and when I was at my worst it was my forearms that bore the brunt of my obsession. Leaving the job that was causing the stress allowed the problem to subside enough that it ceased to be an issue for me. But my son is 4 years old. He doesn't have a job to quit. I'm looking for a new daycare provider, and I'm wondering if stresses with his current baby sitter isn't making things worse (he doesn't say much about her, but there are things that have made me think I need to replace her). Does anyone else have children who engage in this behavior? Besides keeping the spots covered, does anyone have any advice to help the child deal with the compulsion? I know he can't help it (I don't just know, I understand that he can't). I just want to know if 1) I'm the only parent of a child this young who does this and 2) if anyone has any tips or ideas beyond what I've described. Thanks, all.
3 Answers
June 15, 2009
I wish I had something definitive. There is a doctor who is referred to here with whom I have just started working. I would suggest that an expert might be familiar with this for younger children. Because it is a more newly recognized disorder I don't know how much background there will be, but I would go with someone who is the most familiar with the condition. Good luck, it must be tough because you want to stop the behavior without breaking the spirit of your son and it sounds as if you have some misgivings about the babysitter that are possibly hanging heavy on your shoulders. I'll think good thoughts and pray for you and please keep using this board. I think I'm less than a week into it and I'm not generally a fan of support groups, but I've made a definite exception in this case!!! GOOD LUCK!~!
June 15, 2009
I also have no experience or expertise with this, but one of my big motivations to get control of my picking is in hopes I don't pass it on to my kids. if you do learn how to deal with this with small children, please post and let us know. best of luck.
June 18, 2009
I have a 5 year old boy who I believe is obsessed with picking. Usually starts out as a bug bite. mostly on his legs amd arms. It is very fustrating for me to see my little boy start this obsession so young. Although I think I started that young also. Right now I just put bandaids and neosporin on the spots he starts picking. I try to not do my picking in front of him. I have been doing well since I found this forum. I am also going to try the online counseling. I am condisdering calling his pediatrician to discuss this. Keep me updated on how things go. I hope we find a solution! : )

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